Woods wins despite error-strewn display

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The Independent Online

Tiger Woods hardly put together a masterpiece today, but the result was the same - another victory for the world's No 1 player, who is still building on what already has become a masterful season.

Tiger Woods hardly put together a masterpiece today, but the result was the same - another victory for the world's No 1 player, who is still building on what already has become a masterful season.

Despite missing five putts from 3 meters (10 feet) or less and three-putting on three occasions, Woods avoided the kind of mistakes that knocked out South African star Ernie Els and Bob Tway and closed with a 1-over 73 to win the National Car Rental Classic at Disney World, Florida.

Woods finished at 19-under 271 and won $450,000, pushing his earnings to more than $4.7 million for thence Tom Watson won six in 1980.

"I just hung in there today," said Woods, also a winner this in PGA European Tour event in Germany. "My putting was just not on. I figured if I kept hitting it close, one of them might go in. I got lucky and won this one."

Els hit into the water trying to lay up on No 14, and had a 10.5-meter (35-foot) birdie putt roll off the green on No 17 that led to a bogey. He had a 71 and finished one stroke behind.

Tway was tied with Woods to start the final round and led by two strokes at the turn, but fell out of contention by hitting into the water on the par-3 12th and taking a triple bogey. Tway had a 76 to tie for third with Franklin Langham (72) at 14-under 274.

Woods has not broken 70 in the final round of his last four victories, but he's been good enough. It was the 10th straight time Woods has had at least a share of the lead through 54 holes and gone on to win.

"There's no way you can touch this guy right now," Els said. "He's gone to another level that the rest of us can't find."

The victory was the 13th of a career that began just three years ago. At the age of 23, he is the youngest player to win this often - seven, including his victory against a strong field in Germany - since Horton Smith won eight times in 1929 at age 21.

And Woods is not done yet.

Having won six of his last nine tournaments, Woods will be the favorite in the Tour Championship next week in Houston, and again in the final World Golf Championship event in Spain to close out the year.

Winning both those tournaments - anything is possible right now - would push him over dlrs 6 million in earnings for the year, an astounding number even with inflated purses.

Final Standings

Tiger Woods 66-66-66-73-271 Ernie Els 68-65-68-71-272 Franklin Langham 67-67-68-72-274 Bob Tway 67-65-66-76-274 John Huston 67-69-72-67-275 Vijay Singh 66-71-69-69-275 Glen Day 71-68-72-66-277 Russ Cochran 68-69-68-72-277 Jeff Sluman 70-65-70-72-277 Dudley Hart 70-67-67-73-277 Woody Austin 65-72-73-69-279 Stewart Cink 69-70-70-70-279 Steve Lowery 70-68-70-71-279 Steve Elkington 66-69-71-73-279 Scott Hoch 67-71-67-74-279 Jim Carter 67-65-71-76-279 Brian Henninger 70-67-76-67-280 Sean Murphy 73-68-71-68-280 Scott Verplank 67-71-72-70-280 Scott Dunlap 72-69-69-70-280 Rocco Mediate 65-68-76-71-280 Billy Mayfair 68-68-72-72-280 Jonathan Kaye 67-69-72-72-280 Paul Azinger 70-69-69-72-280 Paul Goydos 69-70-68-73-280 Chris DiMarco 69-69-69-73-280 Jay Delsing 69-65-69-77-280 Pete Jordan 71-68-71-71-281 Kevin Sutherland 70-70-70-71-281 Chris Riley 70-70-69-72-281 Barry Cheesman 67-68-73-73-281 Scott McCarron 73-64-71-73-281 Brent Geiberger 68-69-71-73-281 Corey Pavin 71-70-67-73-281 Loren Roberts 67-68-68-78-281 Brad Faxon 65-73-64-79-281 Chris Perry 70-69-73-70-282 Hal Sutton 68-66-77-71-282 Dicky Pride 69-70-72-71-282 Tommy Armour III 72-69-70-71-282 Jesper Parnevik 69-72-68-73-282 Notah Begay III 70-67-71-74-282 Lee Janzen 67-71-70-74-282 Jeff Gallagher 71-67-74-71-283 Mike Reid 71-70-71-71-283 Chip Beck 68-69-73-73-283 Willie Wood 71-67-72-73-283 Mark Brooks 70-71-69-73-283 J.L. Lewis 70-68-71-74-283 David Sutherland 69-67-72-75-283 Gabriel Hjertstedt 69-65-72-77-283 Joe Ogilvie 69-72-73-70-284 Paul Stankowski 71-67-75-71-284 Dan Forsman 69-69-71-75-284 Greg Kraft 73-65-70-76-284 Larry Rinker 71-66-69-78-284 Bill Glasson 68-73-73-71-285 Tom Lehman 71-70-73-71-285 Olin Browne 71-68-72-74-285 Craig Barlow 71-68-72-74-285 Wayne Levi 68-71-72-74-285 Mike Weir 67-70-73-75-285 Lee Rinker 70-66-74-75-285 Kenny Perry 69-69-72-75-285 David Toms 72-66-72-75-285 Robert Damron 67-67-75-76-285 Fulton Allem 73-66-70-76-285 Doug Dunakey 70-69-70-76-285 Blaine McCallister 72-69-73-72-286 Curtis Strange 71-69-73-73-286 Chris Smith 72-69-72-73-286 Steve Flesch 71-69-72-74-286 Jeff Brehaut 69-69-73-75-286 Duffy Waldorf 71-68-72-75-286 Katsumasa Miyamoto 69-72-70-75-286 Mike Springer 67-70-71-78-286 P.H. Horgan III 69-70-75-73-287 Scott Gump 67-73-75-72-287 Frank Nobilo 71-70-72-74-287 John Cook 68-72-70-77-287 Brandt Jobe 68-73-73-74-288 Jerry Kelly 71-70-72-75-288 Lanny Wadkins 70-71-72-75-288 Charles Raulerson 69-69-73-77-288 Ben Bates 71-69-75-75-290 Tom Purtzer 72-69-76-74-291