Mahan fires 64 to win Bridgestone Invitational|
Akron, OH (Sports Network) - Hunter Mahan fired a six-under 64 on Sunday to
come from three shots back and win the Bridgestone Invitational.
Mahan finished at 12-under 268 for his third career PGA Tour win and second of
the season. His first victory at one of the lucrative World Golf Championships
events was worth $1.4 million.
"The best win of my career for sure," said Mahan.
Ryan Palmer shot a 69 and took second place, two strokes behind Mahan at 10-
Retief Goosen (65) and Bo Van Pelt (67) tied for third place at nine-under
271, while Sean O'Hair (71) took fifth at eight-under 272.
Tiger Woods set several dubious personal records in his worst tournament as a
professional, yet still managed to hold onto the No. 1 world ranking.
After closing with a 77 -- his poorest final-round score on the PGA Tour since
turning pro -- Woods tied for 78th place in a field of 80 players, his worst
finish as a professional.
He ended at 18-over 298, his highest score in relation to par since shedding
his amateur status in 1996.
"It doesn't surprise me at all," said Woods, who won this tournament seven
times in his first 10 tries, including last season. "It's been a long year."
Woods managed to dodge one bullet. He will still be the No. 1 player in the
world rankings after Phil Mickelson labored to an eight-over 78 on Sunday, his
worst round in competition this year.
All Mickelson needed to do was finish fourth or better after entering the
final round tied for 10th place and he would have held the top spot for the
first time in his career.
Instead, the world No. 2 shot a 41 on the front nine, didn't make a birdie
until the 17th hole and dropped into a share of 46th place at three-over 283.
In an interview with CBS after the round, Mickelson said the world ranking
stuff will "happen over time" and that he believes he'll be No. 1 some day.
"It's hard to be upbeat after a round like today," Mickelson said. "I'll
probably spend some time tonight licking wounds."
After Woods and Mickelson played so poorly, the sight of Mahan saving par from
a flower bed way behind the green at the 667-yard 16th was only the third most
bizarre scene of the day.
Mahan took a free drop, then chipped through the green and back into the
fairway. He got up-and-down from there to protect the two-shot lead he took
three holes earlier.
"I think I was all jacked up and flew everything, and I just had no idea where
[my ball] was. I really had no idea," said Mahan.
"Luckily, I got a drop and got out there, and luckily, I didn't make any
bogeys," he said. "I didn't want to give them any momentum out there."
Mahan saved par with an eight-foot putt at the 17th, the closed with a routine
par at the 18th to get into the clubhouse with a lead that stood up when
Palmer failed to make a move on his last two holes.
He emerged atop a packed leaderboard to earn the win.
Palmer and O'Hair shared a one-shot lead after 54 holes, and it was O'Hair who
took control early with birdies at the second and fourth holes to move two
strokes in front.
But Mahan tied O'Hair for the lead with a birdie at the ninth hole, his fifth
birdie on the front nine, and he moved two shots ahead with an 11-foot birdie
putt at 13.
Meanwhile, O'Hair sputtered after his two early birdies, making three bogeys
and 11 pars on his last 14 holes. Palmer made his last birdie at the 11th, and
no one else made much of a charge.
Mahan, 28, also won the Phoenix Open in February. He is the fifth two-time
winner on tour this season after Ernie Els, Justin Rose, Jim Furyk and Steve
Stricker. His first victory came at the 2007 Travelers Championship.
"Obviously, to win any time on the PGA Tour is great, but an event like this,
with 80 of the best players in the world, it's something special," said Mahan.
Mickelson never recovered from a bogey at No. 2, where his drive bounced at
least seven times on the cart path. He also hit into a bunker on the hole.
In all, Lefty made seven bogeys, a double-bogey and just the one birdie on No.
17. It marked only the latest failed attempt to take the No. 1 ranking from
Woods, who has held it for 270 consecutive weeks.
"Eventually, it'll happen," he said.
Woods doesn't have much time to work on his game. The PGA Championship begins
Thursday at Whistling Straits.
"It is what it is," said Woods. "I've got to be ready come Thursday, that's
all that matters."
NOTES: The event is also part of the schedule for several other worldwide
tours, including the European...Mahan's 64 was the lowest final-round score by
a winner in tournament history...Kenny Perry knocked his second shot into the
hole on the fly for an eagle at No. 6.
08/08 19:32:00 ET