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Tiger Woods rallies to win Memorial, impress Jack Nicklaus

Compiled from Times wires

European: Denmark's Jeppe Huldahl, ranked 377th in the world, shot 4-under 67 to win the Wales Open in Newport. Huldahl, 26, in his first year on the tour after three on the satellite Challenge Tour, beat Niclas Fasth (66) by a stroke.

DUBLIN, Ohio — Two holes, two towering shots, two birdies.

Just like that, Tiger Woods broke out of a four-way tie and won the Memorial on Sunday with a 7-under 65 to cap a high-charged comeback. And just as suddenly, he silenced those who wondered if he was ready to defend his title at the U.S. Open in two weeks.

"I knew I could do this," Woods said after birdies on the final two holes gave him a one-shot victory. "I was close to winning, but the game wasn't quite there when I really needed it. I rectified that."

First came a 9-iron at No. 17 Woods launched as high as he could, allowing the ball to land softly on the top shelf of a rock-hard green for a 9-foot birdie. At No. 18, Woods, who was four off the lead entering the round, hit a 7-iron from 183 yards that stopped a foot from the hole.

Then came a prediction from tournament host Jack Nicklaus. Last week, he said Woods, with 14 majors, would break his record of 18 in a couple of years.

"I suspect No. 15 will come … in about two weeks," Nicklaus said. "If he drives the ball this way and plays this way, I'm sure it will. And if not, it will surprise me greatly."

The best part of Woods' day might have been his driving.

He hit every fairway for the first time in more than five years. He missed only five all week, his fewest since the 1998 Masters.

"It was nice to play this well going into the U.S. Open," said Woods, 33, who won for the fourth time at Muirfield and 67th overall. "This is how you have to hit it in order to win U.S. Opens."

Woods even worked in some magic along the way, surging into contention by chipping in for eagle from a nasty lie in thick rough behind the 11th green.

"I don't even know how to describe it," said Michael Letzig, who played with Woods. "It was the best golf I'd ever seen."

Jim Furyk, with Jonathan Byrd and Davis Love tied on the back nine, made a 20-foot birdie putt at No. 18 to shoot 69 and finish second. Furyk is close friends with Woods and said he's tired of hearing the speculation that Woods is not the same since last year's reconstructive knee surgery.

"I just wish you all would just quick (ticking) him off … so he has to come back and keep proving stuff," Furyk said. "I think he answered a lot of questions."

LPGA: In-Kyung Kim birdied two of her final three holes to win the State Farm Classic in Springfield, Ill. She beat Se Ri Pak by a stroke, denying the Hall of Famer and fellow South Korean her first win in two years.

Kim, who turns 21 Saturday, shot 7-under 65 to finish at 17-under 271 and earn her second victory and momentum entering this week's LPGA Championship.

"My game was pretty ready," said Kim, who won the Longs Drugs Challenge last year. "I can't control winning, so I have to play my best."

Angela Stanford (67) was at 16 under through 13 before bogeys at Nos. 14 and 15. Pak was at 16 under through 16 before pars on her final two holes.

Third-round co-leader and Tampa resident Kristy McPherson had bogeys on Nos. 3-5 to shoot 74 for a tie for 18th. Cristie Kerr, the other co-leader, shot 70 to tie for sixth.

Champions: Bernhard Langer shot 67 for a six-shot win at the Triton Financial Classic in Lakeway, Texas. It was Langer's third tour win of the season and sixth since joining it last year. Mark O'Meara (70) was second.

European: Denmark's Jeppe Huldahl, ranked 377th in the world, shot 4-under 67 to win the Wales Open in Newport. Huldahl, 26, in his first year on the tour after three on the satellite Challenge Tour, beat Niclas Fasth (66) by a stroke.

Tiger Woods rallies to win Memorial, impress Jack Nicklaus 06/07/09 [Last modified: Sunday, June 7, 2009 10:32pm]
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