Maruyama manages to hold Woods at bay

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The Independent Online

Shigeki Maruyama survived another Sunday charge by Tiger Woods and an unlikely one by the rookie Ben Crane to win the Byron Nelson Classic.

Maruyama had to rely on his short game, three times saving par on the back nine after leaving himself difficult chips. Another time, the Japanese had to get up-and-down from the edge of the water on the 11th just to make bogey, closing with a two-under-par 68 for a two-stroke victory over Crane.

A week after K J Choi became the first South Korean winner in tour history at New Orleans, Maruyama finished at 14-under 266 and became the first Asian with multiple tour victories. He also won last year in the Greater Milwaukee Open to become the first Japanese player to win on the mainland. This victory was much more impressive, coming against a field that boasted eight of the top 10 players.

Crane felt just as satisfied. An eagle-birdie-par finish put him second and earned him $518,000, enough to secure his card for next year.

Woods made three straight birdies down the stretch to close with a 65 for 10-under 270, which at the time put him three strokes off the lead. He was asked in the locker room when he was leaving for Germany, where he is defending a title this week. "As soon as Shigeki hits his tee shot on 17," Woods said.

Told Maruyama already had gone to 14 under, Woods smiled and said: "I'm outta here."