Woods finds his touch for sixth win in a row

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The Independent Online

Tiger Woods had not holed a putt over 20 feet all week but when he had to do it he did. It was a 25-footer downhill raking left to right on the very last green that won him the Arnold Palmer Invitational and so extended his streak to six consecutive tournament victories.

To some Byron Nelson's mark of 11 straight PGA Tour wins will remain untouchable but they have obviously not clocked the form of the world No 1. Woods, who started the day in a five-way tie for the lead, fired a 66 but was actually a little way short of his best. Yet he still found the wherewithal to withstand the inspired charge of his countryman Bart Bryant.

Graeme McDowell moved a step closer to fulfilling his long held ambition of a Ryder Cup place with yesterday's play-off victory at the Ballantine's Championship here off the coast of South Korea.

The 28-year-old from Portrush, Northern Ireland, climbed to sixth place in the European Ryder Cup rankings, beating the Indian Jeev Milkha Singh courtesy of a 179-yard seven-iron approach shot to two feet which set up a birdie three at the third extra hole.

The victory – his third European Tour title – propelled McDowell to a top-60 place in the world rankings and secured his entry for the World Golf Championship's CA Championship in Miami this week.

"I feel like I've arrived now as a three-time winner on the European Tour – this is the year for me," said McDowell, who smiled when informed of his rise from 94th in the world. "I've said it in the past – at the K Club I realised I should have been on the team. I was good enough to be on the team and I was disappointed not to be there. The Ryder Cup was a massive goal for me and Europe is the place for me to be right now, trying to get on the team."

McDowell, now No 3 in the Order of Merit, hopes victory in the inaugural European Tour event here can provide the momentum to earn him a place in Nick Faldo's Ryder Cup team in Valhalla in September.

"I promised myself I was going to give myself every opportunity to be in Valhalla," he said, "and I'm off to a flying start.

"That's the ultimate goal this year – I've given myself every possible opportunity to do that now."

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