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Rock takes advantage as Woods falters late

Robert Rock shoots 13-under 275 at the Abu Dhabi Championship to earn the second victory of his career.

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Robert Rock shoots 13-under 275 at the Abu Dhabi Championship to earn the second victory of his career.

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Tiger Woods talked all week about his improved ball control. Then it let him down when he needed it most.

After posting three straight rounds below par at the Abu Dhabi Championship, Woods shot par 72 in Sunday's finale to finish in a tie for third behind winner Robert Rock and U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy.

The 117th-ranked Rock shot 70 for an overall 13-under 275 to beat McIlroy (69) by a shot. Woods was another shot back with Thomas Bjorn (68) and Graeme McDowell (68).

"I just didn't give myself enough looks at it" Sunday, Woods said. "Most of my putts were lag putts. I didn't drive the ball in as many fairways as I should have. … It was a day I was just a touch off the tee, and consequently, I couldn't get the ball close enough."

It marked the second straight time Woods hasn't won with at least a share of the lead after 54 holes. He faltered in the Chevron World Challenge in 2010 after going into the final round with a four-shot lead over McDowell.

Going into Sunday, Woods was tied for the lead with Rock, who had one victory to 83 for Woods. But it was Rock — battling nerves over playing alongside one of his idols — who held it together down the stretch.

"It's pretty hard to believe that I managed to win. Very surprised," the Englishman said. "I played good. So I guess I had a chance from early on, a couple of birdies made the day feel a little bit easier.

"But it's difficult playing with Tiger. You expect almost every shot to threaten to go in. I felt a lot of pressure and couldn't afford any lapses in concentration at all."

Collapse at Farmers

SAN DIEGO — Brandt Snedeker won the Farmers Insurance Open in a playoff not even he thought was possible.

Kyle Stanley led by seven early in the final round and by four as he stood on the 18th tee at Torrey Pines. Just like that, he went from being a rising star on the PGA Tour to a meltdown that ranks among golf's most shocking.

Snedeker, in the group ahead of him, hit wedge to a foot for birdie and 67 and a 16-under 272 total, then drove to the media tent for an interview as the runnerup. He arrived to watch Stanley spin a wedge into the water, then three-putt from 45 feet for triple-bogey 8 and 2-over 74.

Two playoff holes later, both were in shock.

Snedeker's tee shot hopped over the green and would have gone into a canyon except that it bounced off a TV tower. He chipped to about 5 feet and made par. Stanley three-putted from just outside 45 feet, his 5-foot par putt catching the right lip.

"It's just crazy," Snedeker said. "To get my mind around what happened the last 30 minutes is pretty hard to do right now. My heart is out to Kyle. I feel bad for him to have to go through this."

RECORD WIN: New Zealand amateur Lydia Ko, 14, became the youngest winner of a professional golf tour event, taking the women's New South Wales Open in Sydney by four strokes.

Rock takes advantage as Woods falters late 01/29/12 [Last modified: Sunday, January 29, 2012 9:41pm]
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