Golf: Patience pays off for Woods

TIGER WOODS escaped from a series of trouble spots with par saves - including a memorable chip-in at the 14th hole - to hold off Fiji's Vijay Singh yesterday and win the Memorial Tournament by two strokes.

Woods, who said he is playing at his peak at the age of 23, had an imperfect round that was salvaged by patience and timely shotmaking. His three-under- par 69 at the long and treacherous Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, left him on 15-under-par 273. For Woods, who won the Deutsche Bank Open two weeks ago in Germany, this was a second US PGA Tour victory of the year.

Starting the day with a two-stroke lead over Singh and a five-shot margin on David Duval, Woods saved par on each of the first two holes from off the green. It was a hint of the determined round to come.

Singh finally cut his lead in half at the par-5 11th, two-putting from 20 feet to get to 13 under. At 14, Woods flew the green and ended up with a nasty downhill lie from 15 yards and advanced the ball only six feet on his next shot. Then he slid his wedge under the ball and watched as it rolled across the green and nudged the pin before nestling into the cup. That effectively settled the title for him.

Duval shared third place at nine under par with Olin Browne, who shot the low round of the day - 65, and Paraguay's Carlos Franco.

n Juli Inkster fought off a spirited challenge from Kelli Kuehne to win the US Women's Open at Old Waverley, West Point, Mississippi, with a one- under-par 71 that gave her the lowest 72-hole score in the 54-year history of the championship, 16-under-par 272. At 38, she became the oldest champion since 40-year-old Fay Crocker in 1955.

Scores, Digest, page 9

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