Toms ends drought
More than five years after he last won, a week after losing in a playoff and a day after blowing a seven-stroke lead at Colonial to go into the final round trailing, the 44-year-old Toms shot a 3-under 67 on Sunday to win at Hogan’s Alley.
“I’m not dreaming, am I? This is actually happening, right?” Toms asked when he entered the interview room wearing the championship plaid jacket. “Wow, I didn’t know if this day would ever come again.”
Toms regained the lead for good from Charlie Wi with an eagle with a wedge shot from 83 yards at the par-5 11th hole, and finished 15 under—a stroke ahead of Wi.
“It’s one of the most perfect shots I’ve ever hit,” Toms said.
Toms’ long-elusive 13th career victory came a week after a playoff loss to K.J. Choi at The Players Championship, when he missed a short par putt on the extra hole for his sixth runner-up finish since last winning in January 2006 at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
“To win after this time frame and to come back after what happened last week certainly means more to me than any other victory,” said Toms, the 2001 PGA Championship winner.
Wi started the final round with a one-shot lead that he quickly expanded with birdies on the first two holes. He finished with a 69 for his fourth career runner-up finish without a win.
“It’s great to finish second on the PGA Tour anytime, but it’s a little bittersweet,” said Wi, 39, of South Korea.
After that playoff loss at TPC Sawgrass, Toms had an opening 62 at Colonial for his best score in 429 rounds—since a career-best 61 during in his Hawaii victory. Toms followed with another bogey-free 62 to match the PGA Tour scoring record for the first 36 holes of a tournament (124), and opened the third round with another birdie.
At 17 under through 37 holes and seemingly in control, Toms instead had three bogeys in the next five holes. There was later a three-putt from 7˝ feet for double bogey and Wi took the lead with a 32-foot birdie at the par-3 16th Saturday.
Toms finally caught up at 13 under after Wi missed the green with his approach at the par-4 10th and two-putted from 13 feet for a bogey.
The clincher for Toms came on Colonial’s longest hole, the 635-yard 11th.
After laying up to a perfect spot short of the green, and Wi’s ball sitting in a frontside bunker, Toms’ wedge shot from 83 yards bounced once, landed just behind the pin and then rolled back into the cup.
Toms, who earned $1.116 million, became the first player on the PGA Tour to rebound from a playoff loss one week to winning the next since 2000, when Phil Mickelson won at Colonial after losing in a playoff at the Byron Nelson Championship.
Bo Van Pelt (65) finished third at 10 under.
Poulter defeats Donald
At Casares, Spain, Ian Poulter denied Luke Donald the top spot in the world golf rankings Sunday, beating his fellow Englishman 2 and 1 in the final of the World Match Play Championship to claim his first title of 2011.
The second-ranked Donald could have risen to No. 1 for the first time, supplanting compatriot Lee Westwood if he’d won the tournament in Andalusia, but he failed to find the consistent form that swept him to the final.
Poulter sank a 45-foot putt to win the 12th hole, and birdies on the 14th and 16th sealed Donald’s fate.
“I didn’t play my best, but I played the right shots at the right times,” said Poulter. “It’s a very special day.”
Poulter picked up a winner’s check of $1.14 million. He also won the Accenture tournament last year.
At Gladstone, N.J., Suzann Pettersen won the Sybase Match Play Championship, beating Cristie Kerr 1-up at Hamilton Farm to end a 20-month victory drought.
Leading 1-up and with Kerr facing a 10-foot birdie attempt, Pettersen curled in a left to-right 15-footer for birdie to seal the victory for the 30-year-old Norwegian star.
In the semifinals, Pettersen beat Na Yeon Choi 4 and 2, and Kerr edged Angela Stanford 1-up. Choi beat Stanford 4 and 3 in the third-place match.