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Woods breaks record with record-tying win

Even Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer couldn't match this.

Tiger Woods cruised to victory Sunday in the 100th Western Open, his 38th PGA Tour victory and fourth this season. It marks his fifth consecutive year with at least four wins, a feat no one else has managed.

Hogan, Palmer, Tom Watson and Lloyd Mangrum had four consecutive years with four or more.

"That is pretty nice to have that happen," Woods said. "That means I've been consistent. I've been able to not only be consistent, but also to close the deal, too."

Woods is the fifth three-time winner of the Western, the oldest stop on the tour. Hogan, Nicklaus and Palmer won it twice.

The gaudy numbers don't stop there. Woods shot 69 on Sunday for 21-under 267. That matched the tournament record set in 2001 by Scott Hoch. Woods missed an 11-footer for par at 18.

He finished five strokes ahead of Rich Beem, the 13th time he has won by four or more strokes.

Beem opened the back nine with three birdies and an eagle in his first five holes to pull within five of Woods. But he couldn't take advantage of his last par 5, parring No. 15 to end his slim chances to catch Woods, the first wire-to-wire winner at the Western since Nick Price in 1993.

Jim Furyk finished seven back in third. Mike Weir and defending champion Jerry Kelly also finished at 274.

Woods started with five birdies and one bogey through 11, needing just 13 putts.

His birdie at No. 8 got him to 22 under. Another birdie at 10 got him to 23 under, 10 strokes ahead of Beem and Robert Allenby.

Then the rain came. Two delays totaled more than three hours.

He made pars on his first two holes after the first delay then struggled on the par-3 14th. With about 6 inches for par, his putt skirted the edge of the hole, and he had to settle for bogey.

After the second delay, his 12-foot birdie putt on the 15th skidded along the hole but ran long.

"Any time you win, you've got to feel pretty good about it," Woods said.

BRITISH OPEN: Cliff Kresge's sixth-place finish at the Western Open gave him a spot in the tournament July 14-20. Fifteen spots were available.

Using earnings from the Players Championship and the five most recent events, the top seven who didn't already have exemptions and were in the top 25 on the money list qualified. Kresge, Jonathan Kaye, Rory Sabbatini, Duffy Waldorf, Joey Sindelar, Joe Durant and J.L. Lewis earned spots.

The other spots were given to the top eight Western finishers who didn't have exemptions: Dudley Hart, Scott McCarron, Skip Kendall, Ben Curtis, Luke Donald, Jose Coceres, Chris Smith and Tom Byrum.

EUROPEAN OPEN: Phillip Price shot 2-under 70 to win by one in European PGA play at Straffan, Ireland. Price missed a 2-foot birdie putt at 17 and settled for bogey. But from the back of the green at 18, he chipped to 2 feet and made birdie to edge Alastair Forsyth and Mark McNulty.

CANADIAN PGA CHAMPIONSHIP: Tom Carter beat Jason Bohn in a playoff in Richmond Hill, Ontario, for his first Nationwide Tour win. Carter rolled in a 15-foot putt for birdie on No. 18 to pull within one shot of Bohn, who bogeyed it. They played No. 18 again, and Carter parred it. Bohn sent a sand shot past the hole, hitting a cameraman before the ball ricocheted back to the front side. He got on the green but missed a par putt.

INNISBROOK AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP: Victor Findley of Coconut Creek shot 2-over 73 for 218 to win at Innisbrook's Copperhead course. Two former area high school standouts, Seminole's Kyle Christman (Winthrop University) and Countryside's David Cosper (Rollins), were second, five back.

FLORIDA JUNIOR INVITATIONAL: R.C. Hyatt, who will be a sophomore at Mitchell High in New Port Rickey, shot 87 to win in Howey-in-the-Hills.

_ Times correspondent Dave Theall contributed to this report.

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