Tiger Woods Returns To Top Of Leaderboard

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Tiger Woods carded a final-round 2-under 70 to finish 13-under 275 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, five strokes clear of Graeme McDowell. The win comes in Woods’ 27th PGA TOUR start since his last win at the 2009 BMW Championship on September 13.  For the victory, Woods wins $1,080,000.

Woods now owns seven wins at two PGA TOUR events: Arnold Palmer Invitational (2000-03, 2008-09, 2012) and the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational (1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009).  Six of Woods’ seven wins at the Arnold Palmer Invitational have come when he held the 54-hole lead/co-lead.  Woods’ average margin of victory in his seven wins at Bay Hill is 3.86 strokes.  Woods is now a collective 108-under in 15 professional starts at this event.

Woods now has 72 wins on TOUR, moving him within one of Jack Nicklaus’ 73 TOUR wins. Sam Snead leads the list with 82 career wins. His 72nd victory comes at the age of 36 years, 2 months, and 25 days in his 279th career start (265 professional).

Of 53 54-hole leads/co-leads on TOUR, Woods has now converted 49 into wins.

The runner-up finish is the second of McDowell’s career on the PGA TOUR, with both coming at the Arnold Palmer Invitational (2005, 2012). He owns five starts at the event.

McDowell’s only win on TOUR in 87 starts is the 2010 U.S. Open. He now has 12 top-10 finishes on TOUR.

Johnson Wagner finished T4 for his career-high fourth top 10 of the season (nine starts). The 2012 Sony Open in Hawaii winner will head to the Shell Houston Open next week – the site of the first of his three TOUR wins (2008). Wagner’s finish this week moved him to No. 1 in the FedExCup standings, just two points ahead of Rory McIlroy.

The downside of Wood’s victory is that if either the 2nd (McDowell) or 3rd place player (Poulter) had won, this week, MasterCard would have made an additional $200,000 donation to the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in their name.