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'This was big': Tiger Woods ties Sam Snead's PGA Tour win record as Rory McIlroy finishes well at Zozo Championship

Tiger Woods has claimed his second victory of 2019.
Tiger Woods has claimed his second victory of 2019.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Tiger Woods has tied Sam Snead's record of 82 PGA Tour victories with success at the inaugural Zozo Championship in Japan.

The 43-year-old thrilled fans with a controlled performance throughout the week as he held the lead after every round to claim his third tour win since undergoing back fusion surgery in April 2017.

Woods was tied at the top after round one and, since surging into the solo lead during the delayed second round, didn't look back as he eased to a three shot victory over home favourite Hideki Matsuyama, with Rory McIlroy a further three shots back in joint third.

"This was big," said Woods. "It was a lot closer than people thought.

"It's a lot (of wins). I've been able to be consistent most of my career. It's just crazy. It's been a long week and it was definitely stressful.

"I can't do any of the thingns I used to do. I've had four back surgeries and I don't hit the ball anywhere near as far compared to the field. But I can still think my way round and manage my way round a golf course. I know how to play.

"There was a time I didn't know if I would play again. I'm very appreciative. I know how it feels to have this game taken away from me. I'm just so happy and so fortunate to have this opportunity again."

Woods held a three shot lead going into the final round and, unsurprisingly, managed to close out his second victory of 2019, adding to his famous Masters win.

It all seemed a long way off when Woods began the tournament with three consecutive bogeys. He would bounce back in the most emphatic fashion, carding nine birdied in his last 15 holes to finish at six under alongside Gary Woodland.

A six-under-par 64 on Saturday left Woods two clear at the top and the Big Cat stretched his advantage with a four under 66 early on Sunday.

Making a quick turnaround to begin the final round after a quick change into his traditional Sunday red, Woods carded three birdies and one bogey in 11 holes, enough to stretch his lead to four shots over Matsuyama when going to bed on Sunday evening.

Despite a drop-shot on his first hole on Monday, the tough 490 yard par four 12th, Woods bounced back with a crucial birdie on the par five 14th and, when Matsuyama's birdie attempt on the 17th stayed out, the leader could step onto his 72nd hole two clear.

Matsuyama's failure to birdie the par five 18th meant Woods could enjoy his walk up the last, but finished in style with an up-and-down from the bunker for a birdie four.

McIlroy ended up in a tie for third after a very successful recovery from a slow start to the week.

The world number two was in joint 47th place after a disappointing opening round 72 left him two over par.

McIlroy bounced back in the delayed second round with a five under par 65. He began with eagle at the much-shortened 10th hole, which at under 140 yards due to the conditions, was a par four only in name. He backed it up with four more birdies during a comfortable run but hit the breaks on his closing stretch and finished off with a disappointing bogey five.

His round of the week followed with a seven under 63 on Sunday. After starting with bogey, McIlroy carded three birdies to make the turn at two under par and, down the stretch, made consecutive birdies from holes 13 to 15 before finishing with eagle.

It was a quick turnaround to start his final round on Sunday and made two birdies and seven pars in the front nine. Returning to conclude his tournament on Monday morning, McIlroy made up for his drop shot at the 11th by finishing with back-to-back birdies to get in at -13 alongside Sungjae Im.

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