Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

Tiger Woods wins Zozo Championship to match Sam Snead's record

American superstar claims 82nd Tour victory with three-shot win in Japan

Tiger Woods celebrates winning the Zozo Championship to match Sam Snead's record. Getty
Tiger Woods celebrates winning the Zozo Championship to match Sam Snead's record. Getty

Tiger Woods tied Sam Snead's PGA Tour record of 82 victories after triumphing in the Zozo Championship in Japan.

The 43-year-old American returned Monday to play the final seven holes in the rain-hit tournament, completing a three-under 67 to beat local favourite Hideki Matsuyama by three strokes.

"It's just crazy. It's a lot," Woods said. "I've been able to be consistent most of my career ... today was one of those days where I was able to pull it out."

Woods had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee two months ago - his fifth on the same problem joint. He was making his first start in his 23rd season on the PGA Tour.

"I can still manage my way around the golf course," Woods said. "I know how to play. I was able to do that this week."

On tying Snead's record, Woods attributed it to consistency. "It's a big number," he said.

"It's a lot of consistency and doing it for a long period of time, Sam did it into his 50s and I'm in my early to mid-40s so it's about being consistent and doing it for a very long period of time. I've been very fortunate to have the career I've had so far."

The fourth round was suspended because of darkness on Sunday, and Woods took a three-stroke lead over Matsuyama into Monday in the first official PGA Tour event in Japan.

He bogeyed his first hole of the day, the par-four 12th, but was solid the rest of the way with birdies at 14 and 18 to finish at 19-under 261.

Rory McIlroy, the highest ranked player in the field, completed his round with two birdies for a 67 to tie for third at 13 under with Sungjae Im.

Woods opened with consecutive 64s, with a day off in between because of rain. He had a 66 on Sunday in the third round.

"It's been a long week," Woods said. "Five days at the top of the leaderboard is a long time."

It was a wild debut for the PGA in Japan. Torrential rain washed out play Friday, forcing the second round to be moved to Saturday. To make up for the lost day, the players started the fourth round immediately after finishing the third to get in as many holes as possible.

The course took on over eight inches of rain Friday and was in remarkably good shape when play resumed on Saturday for the second round.

Woods managed 11 holes and played 29 holes on Sunday before having to come back for a 7.30am start.

"This was certainly demanding," Woods said "Being in the lead for the better part of five days puts a stress on the mind, it's not easy to do, it wears one out but somehow I was able to finish out on top and made key putts this week."

Updated: October 31, 2019 03:28 PM

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