American Patrick Reed replaced Tiger Woods as the champion of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, becoming the youngest winner of the $9 million tournament. In the final round, an even-par 72 sealed the victory for Reed, as he finished four-under 284, one shot clear of Bubba Watson and Jamie Donaldson.
The 23-year-old began the final day with a two stroke lead and quickly built momentum from there, fighting off a late challenge from Donaldson.
The WGC-Cadillac Championship is one of the four annual World Golf Championships, organized by the committee of International Federation of PGA Tours. It is played in the stroke play format over 72 holes, at the Trump National Doral golf resort in Doral, Florida.
This year’s WGC-Cadillac Championship was played from March 6–9 on the TPC Blue Monster course at Trump National Doral. It is one of the most elite and exciting tournaments on the golfing calendar. It hosts more than two score of the best golfers in the world, such as Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Justin Rose, Adam Scott and many more.
Last year’s champion and world No. 1, Tiger Woods was the clear favourite at the start of the tournament. Earlier this month, he withdrew from the final round of the Honda Classic on Sunday due to back pain, but he returned to Doral in a bid to defend his title, which he had already won seven times.
But this year’s campaign at the TPC Blue Monster proved unfruitful for the world No. 1, as the back problems continued to haunt him.
The first day proved to be a long one, with a delay caused due to a thunderstorm.
Jason Dufner proved to be the highlight of the day with some strong performances, and ended the day with a four-way tie for the lead at three-under-par.
At the top of the leaderboard he was joined by Francesco Molinari, Hunter Mahan and Patrick Reed. Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson were also part of the group of eight golfers who were one stroke behind at two under par.
Tiger Woods, who played 10 holes and found himself at two over, seemed untroubled by his back problems.
Following the treacherous weather on Day 1, steady gusts of wind up to 35 miles per hour on Day 2 wreaked even more havoc, as most of the top golfers struggled to keep their balls out of the water and the bunkers.
In the end, just four golfers were able to escape the first two days of competition below even par. Patrick Reed, Hunter Mahan, Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar progressed, tied at one under.
On Day 2 the spotlight was clearly on Woods who sank an amazing 92 foot birdie putt on the fourth, thus moving him up six shots off the lead at five over, tied for 25th with a group of players that also included Phil Mickelson.
Reed slowly started to take charge, as he looked very comfortable throughout Round 3 shooting a three-under-par 69 and taking a two-stroke lead.
Day 3 also saw Tiger move up the leader-board, firing a 66, and going from five-over-par to one under. He remained only three shots behind Reed going into the final round.
The combination of a newly reconstructed course and rough weather added to the frustration of the players, as more balls ended up in the water.
Reed withstood late charges from Jamie Donaldson and Bubba Watson to finish at four under par.
He made pars at the 15th, 16th and 17th holes to head to the 18th and, with a comfortable two-shot lead, he secured an easy victory with a final bogey.
Woods, seemingly troubled by his back, shot a 78, which saw him placed him at five-over, thus dismissing any hopes of retaining the title.
Despite Donald Trump’s newly redesigned Blue Monster proving squally for most of the golfers, Patrick Reed seemed to sail smoothly to clinch the title, thus becoming the youngest golfer to do so, at the age of 23.
This was Reed’s third PGA Tour title in the past eight months, and it vaulted him 24 spots in the World Ranking into 20th place. Reed now joins Rory McIlroy as the only two players younger than 25 with at least three PGA Tour wins.
Reed seems to have acquainted himself well with the fast track of the golfing world, and is one of the rising golfers to look out for at the upcoming Masters in April.Published 14 Mar 2014, 16:20 IST