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Tiger sets mark with sixth Slam

2006-07-28 16:31

  Tiger Woods, who battled a stomach virus in the opening round, won the exclusive 36-hole PGA Grand Slam of Golf for the record sixth time on Wednesday, closing with an 8-under 64 for a seven-stroke victory over Phil Mickelson at Poipu Beach, Hawaii.

  Woods won US$400,000 and finished at 13-under 131.

  Mickelson, the PGA champion, shot a 68 to earn US$250,000. US Open champion Michael Campbell shot a 70 to finish 12 strokes back, collecting US$200,000. Vijay Singh was another stroke behind after a 69. He took home US$150,000.

  Woods was never seriously threatened. He opened with a 67 for a three-stroke lead over Mickelson, and quickly widened the gap to five with birdies on Nos. 2 and 3.

  He finished with two eagles, five birdies and a bogey in relatively calm conditions on the oceanside 7,123-yard Poipu Bay Golf Course. He was bogey-free on the back nine for the second day.

  On the 573-yard sixth hole, Woods split the fairway with a 344-yard drive and hit a 5-iron, to set up a 55-foot, uphill putt that curled to the left and dropped into the cup. The gallery roared as Woods sheepishly grinned.

  On the par-5 14th, Woods drove 293 yards into the wind and blasted a 3-wood from 244 yards out onto the green.

  “Oh baby, how about this shot I just hit,” he said, watching the towering shot. “That was pretty cool.”

  Woods showed no signs of a virus that caused him to vomit during the opening round and miss Monday's pro-am, or the ankle he twisted while successfully defending his Dunlop Phoenix title last weekend in Japan.

  In Fingal, Australia's Robert Allenby overcame a hand injury and shot a course-record 9-under-par 63 yesterday for a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Australian Open.

  Allenby, who said inflammation in his right hand was so bad four days ago that he could hardly pick up a club, finished just minutes after 21-year-old American Spencer Levin hit an 8-under 64.

  Levin was in second place at Moonah Links, followed by Australia's Scott Laycott at 7 under. Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy were tied for fourth a stroke back.

  Two-time winner Aaron Baddeley and Stuart Appleby both had 70s and a share of 16th place at 2 under.

  Allenby, the 1994 Australian Open champion, had 10 birdies and a bogey and said he hadn't putted better in a decade. He played in the same group as Mark Hensby, who on Wednesday criticized former No. 1 Greg Norman for not doing enough to support golf in Australia. Hensby shot a 71.

  Defending champion Peter Lonard of Australia, aiming for his third consecutive Australian Open title, opened with a 2-over-par 74.

  The tournament started amid concerns over the shrinking size of the Australasian tour and Hensby's comments about Norman.

  Norman, voted Australia's golfer of the 20th century, said he was shocked by Hensby's comments and had spoken to the US PGA Tour player by telephone.

  “No, everything is not fine. We're not finished (with) the conversation,” Norman said yesterday. “I don't have to go out there and play golf tournaments every week in this country. We do a lot of things behind the scenes that a lot of people never see, and I think that's something Mark Hensby will never know because he doesn't know me.”

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