McDowell tops Woodsafter forcing sudden death
U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell capped off his greatest year by putting together the greatest comeback ever against Tiger Woods in the Chevron World Challenge.
Woods looked as though he would recover from losing a four-shot lead Sunday when he stuffed his approach to inside 3 feet on the 18th hole, but McDowell knocked in a 20-foot birdie putt that forced a playoff.
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On the first extra hole, McDowell again made a birdie putt from 20 feet. This time, Woods couldn't match him. His 15-foot birdie putt slid by on the right, and Woods ended a calendar year without winning.
Woods had never lost a tournament as a pro when leading by at least three shots going into the final round.
■ Lee Westwood maintained his year-end No. 1 ranking with an eight-shot victory at the Nedbank Golf Challenge on Sunday. The Englishman sailed to a 4-under 68 in the final round, chipping in from the fringe at No. 18 for a birdie to finish at 17-under 271 at the Gary Player Country Club. Westwood led since Friday and was unchallenged on the final day to win his first Nedbank title on his seventh attempt.
■ Geoff Ogilvy won the Australian Open on Sunday for his second professional victory in his home country, closing with a 3-under 69 for a four-stroke victory.
Ogilvy had a 19-under 269 total at The Lakes. The 2006 U.S. Open champion won the 2008 Australian PGA for his only other professional victory Down Under. Alistair Presnell (67) and Matt Jones (68) tied for second, Jordan Sherratt (67) and John Senden (69) followed at 12 under, and American David Oh (69) was in a group at 11 under. Sherratt was making his pro debut.
■ Maria Hjorth has won the LPGA Tour Championship, using a final-round 72 to hold off a field that struggled to even make par.
Third-round leader Amy Yang made a birdie putt on the 18th from about 15 feet over a ridge, forcing Hjorth to sink an 8-foot putt slightly down hill to save par. She did, dropping her putter and lifting her arms in the air in triumph after it rolled in.
Yani Tseng also clinched LPGA player of the year, despite finishing 5 over for the tournament. None of the major awards even changed hands this week.
■ Billy Mayfair and Ben Martin were tied for the lead at the PGA Tour qualifying school, one round away from earning their playing cards for next year.
Mayfair shot a 67 and Martin had a 71 Saturday on the Panther Lake Course at Orange County National. Both were 16 under through five rounds of the tournament, one shot ahead of Bio Him.
The top 25 will earn PGA Tour cards for 2011 on Monday. The next 50 will get cards on the Nationwide Tour. The difference between Mayfair and the final spot was seven shots.
Mayfair has posted all five rounds in the 60s. Martin's 71 is his only round in the 70s.
Briny Baird, who lost his card for next year after finishing No. 126 on the money list, shot a 71. He is five shots off the cutoff.
Celtics win without injured Rondo
Celtics 100, Nets 75: Nate Robinson scored 21 points starting in place of an injured Rajon Rondo and lead visiting Boston to their seventh straight win.
Robinson scored eight points in the first four minutes against home New Jersey in place of Rondo, who was a last-minute scratch because of hamstring and foot injuries. Robinson's 3-pointer with 7:48 left in the first quarter gave Boston an 11-8 lead and the Celtics never trailed from there, outscoring the Nets 30-12 in the second quarter.
Thunder 114, Warriors 109: Kevin Durant scored 28 points in his first in his first game back from a knee injury, Russell Westbrook added 19 points and 13 assists and Oklahoma City held off a fourth-quarter charge by Golden State to beat the Warriors at home.
Stephen Curry scored a season-high 39 points and ignited the Warriors' rally from a 21-point deficit to cut it to three in the final minute.
Oklahoma City made its first 29 free throws before Durant and Westbrook missed three in the final 2½ minutes to let Golden State stick around. Monta Ellis nailed a 3-pointer from the left side to get the Warriors to 110-107 with 23.7 seconds left, but Jeff Green and Durant hit two foul shots apiece to seal it for the Thunder.
Knicks 116, Raptors 99: Amare Stoudemire had 31 points and a season-high 16 rebounds, Wilson Chandler scored 21 and New York Knicks beat Toronto, extending their road winning streak to seven games. Landry Fields had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Raymond Felton had 18 points for the Knicks, who matched their longest road winning streak since a seven-game run between Dec. 27, 1994, and Jan. 22, 1995.
Pistons 102, Cavaliers 92: Richard Hamilton scored 27 points and Rodney Stuckey added 24 points and 11 assists to help Detroit beat visiting Cleveland. Tayshaun Prince added 20 points for Detroit. Antwan Jamison led Cleveland with 22.
Spurs 109, Hornets 84: Tony Parker scored 19 points and home San Antonio beat sliding New Orleans for the second time in a week.
Matt Bonner added 14 points, hitting four of five 3-point attempts, and the Spurs improved their NBA-best record to 17-3 and matched their best start through 20 games since the 2007-08 season. Chris Paul had 16 points for the Hornets, who have lost four of five and were blown out from the start. They trailed by 38 and lately look nothing like the team that opened 8-0.
■ Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has won his 2,000th race. He saddled Free Pourin to victory in Sunday's third race at Hollywood Park. The 2-year-old gray colt was ridden by Joe Talamo and is owned by Mike Pegram, who was one of Baffert's earliest clients when he switched from training quarterhorses to thoroughbreds.
■ Right fielder Jayson Werth has agreed to a $126 million, seven-year contract with the Washington Nationals. The first deal of the winter meetings was announced Sunday while Major League Baseball was still setting up the news conference room, and it was a big one.
■ Freshman forward reserve Adriana Leon scored the only goal in Notre Dame's victory over top-ranked Stanford in the NCAA Division I finals. It's Notre Dame's third national title. Leon sent the ball high over Stanford goalie Emily Oliver's right shoulder in the 63rd minute of the game.
The last word
Graeme McDowell after beating Tiger Woods in a playoff for the U.S. Open Championship:
"I was going out there today with absolutely nothing to lose. It didn't matter what was going to happen today. I was going to have a cold beer tonight and go: 'You know what? It's been a great season.'"