McDowell's late surge extends Woods winless run

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The Independent Online

Tiger Woods' hopes of ending his title drought ended in a play-off as Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell stormed back to win the Chevron World Challenge in Sherwood, California last night.

Woods, who had been on top all weekend, began the day with a four-shot lead, but suffered his first bad round of the tournament, highlighted by a calamitous double-bogey on the 13th, to sign for a 73. That gave McDowell his chance as he overcame two bogeys with five birdies, the last on the 18th, to force a play-off.

He won that with another birdie putt on the 18th, leaving Woods without a title since he won the Australian Masters a year ago.

Paul Casey also went round in 69 yesterday to hold on to third place, ahead of Rory McIlroy, who made four straight birdies en route to a round of 68 that gave him a share of fourth place with Hunter Mahan.

Stewart Cink had the best round of the day, making six birdies and one bogey to go round in 67 and move from a share of 10th to a share of sixth along with Ian Poulter. Luke Donald dropped to eighth as he could only manage a round of 74, his afternoon marred by a double bogey on the par-five 16th.

Meanwhile, world No 1 Lee Westwood produced a fine final round to ease his way to a first-ever Nedbank Golf Challenge victory at Sun City in South Africa yesterday.

The Englishman carded a four-under-par 68 at the Gary Player Country Club to end with a tournament total of 271 and a winning margin of eight strokes over his closest challenger, South African Tim Clark, who finished with a 71.

Another home favourite, Retief Goosen, matched Westwood's round-of-the-day score of 68 – the winner's effort included five birdies and a bogey – to end eight-under for the tournament. That was good enough for joint-third, alongside Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez.

But the day belonged to the 37-year-old Westwood, whose seventh visit to the competition at the South African resort ended with him walking away with the $1.25m (£792,125) first prize. The man from Worksop had been in outstanding form all week with scores of 68, 64 and 71 in his earlier three rounds.

Westwood was looking good to go through his final day without even dropping a shot, but suffered one blip on the par-four 17th. However, he made amends with a fine chip-in for a birdie in front of a packed gallery on the par-four 18th.

"I think that's the first time I've chipped in all year," Westwood joked afterwards. "That's what you call a grandstand finish. It was a good time to do it."

It capped a fine season for Westwood, who took over as the world No 1 from Woods at the end of October, despite the fact that this victory was his first of the year.

He said: "I've been coming here for several years and it's a title I've always wanted to win. I've come close a few times, lost in the play-offs, but it's always very special."