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McIlroy to miss another title defense at Firestone

USA Today Sports Images
Rory McIlroy salutes the crowd following the final round of the 2014 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament at Firestone Country Club - South Course.

AKRON, Ohio -- Rory McIlroy has told the PGA Tour he will not play the Bridgestone Invitational next week as he recovers from his ankle injury.

It will be the second straight tournament that McIlroy will miss as the defending champion. He injured his left ankle while playing soccer with friends in Northern Ireland the first weekend in July. He was not able to defend his title in the British Open at St. Andrews.

McIlroy did not indicate if he would be able to play the PGA Championship on Aug. 13-16 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. He won the PGA Championship last year for his fourth career major.

FULL COVERAGE: PGA Championship at Whistling Straits

Jordan Spieth will have another chance to replace McIlroy at No. 1 in the world next week at Firestone.


Series: PGA Tour

Published: Wednesday, July 29, 2015 | 3:21 p.m.

AKRON, Ohio -- Rory McIlroy has told the PGA Tour he will not play the Bridgestone Invitational next week as he recovers from his ankle injury.

It will be the second straight tournament that McIlroy will miss as the defending champion. He injured his left ankle while playing soccer with friends in Northern Ireland the first weekend in July. He was not able to defend his title in the British Open at St. Andrews.

McIlroy did not indicate if he would be able to play the PGA Championship on Aug. 13-16 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. He won the PGA Championship last year for his fourth career major.

FULL COVERAGE: PGA Championship at Whistling Straits

Jordan Spieth will have another chance to replace McIlroy at No. 1 in the world next week at Firestone.


Woods' 2015 chances running out

USA Today Sports Images
Tiger Woods is paired with with Bill Haas and Nick Watney for the first round of the Quicken Loans National.

GAINESVILLE, Va. -- Tiger Woods knows he's played poorly over the past two years. Now, he's facing the prospect of an early end to his season.

Normally, the Quicken Loans National would be the beginning of a busy stretch of golf for Woods, including the year's final major, a World Golf Championship and the FedEx Cup playoffs.

TEE TIMES: Quicken Loans National

Not this year. Barring a dramatic turnaround, this week's tournament will be his second-to-last before the new PGA Tour season begins in the fall.

Woods is 197th in the FedEx Cup standings — the top 125 make the playoffs — and he needs a victory just to be eligible for next week's Bridgestone Invitational, on a course where he's won eight times. His last victory was at Firestone two years ago.

Woods was sidelined three months after back surgery in 2014, and this year he took two months off to fix a balky short game. He said Tuesday that he doesn't feel a huge sense of urgency because he hasn't played much competitive golf, something caddie Joe LaCava is always reminding him.

"Still trying to make a big, major swing change. Problems with my pattern and my short game," Woods said, reciting the litany of woes that have seen him fall to 266th in the world. "I haven't scored very well. I missed cuts. I haven't done much in the last couple of years and so I haven't played a whole lot of golf in the last couple years. That's what Joey keeps reminding me of, 'Would you just relax?'"

If Woods is feeling stressed, it wasn't evident during Tuesday morning's practice round. He joked around with good friend Arjun Atwal, turning serious only when Atwal ribbed him about getting older. "I'm not 40 yet," said Woods, who'll reach that milestone in December.

Woods mostly found the fairways with his driver and routinely flew the ball 30 yards past Atwal. He said he hits the ball about a club farther in the muggy summer weather — in contrast to the cold and wind he battled in the British Open at St. Andrews, where he missed the cut.

Woods said after his latest disappointing finish in a major that his "spin rates" were off. But he didn't touch a club for a week after St. Andrews, instead going diving with his children in the Bahamas.

"When I geared back up, started doing some testing and found a couple little things but wasn't anything major, which was nice," Woods said. "Some of my swings just weren't quite right."

In eight events this year, Woods has missed three cuts and withdrawn once. He's shot five rounds in the 60s and three rounds in the 80s. His best finish is a tie for 17th at the Masters. While he used to find ways to break par when his game wasn't sharp, now he said he's shooting 74 or worse.

"I'm not scoring, obviously," he said. "I've had chances to make those runs and I just haven't done it."

Woods is the host of the Quicken Loans National, which benefits his foundation. This year it's being played for the first time at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, about 35 miles west of the nation's capital. Next year it will return to Congressional, where it's been played six times.

RTJ has hosted four Presidents Cups, most recently in 2005.

"It's a lot bigger golf course than I remember in '05," Woods said. "We played some more up tees back then, but the game has changed the past 10 years. Everybody hits the ball a little bit further."

Congressional attracted elite fields its first few years, but this year's event has a tough spot on the calendar, with many players taking a week off ahead of the Bridgestone and the PGA Championship. Just five of the world's top 50 are playing, including defending champion Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler.

World No. 14 Jimmy Walker comes in relatively fresh, having played just three times since May. He's gearing up for the big events that Woods is in danger of missing.

"I played with him at Augusta this year. You could tell he really wanted to make the putts and hit the good shots," Walker said of Woods. "It looks like he's got the drive to get things going for him. I hope he does."

This article was written by Ben Nuckols from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

By
Ben Nuckols

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | 7:27 p.m.

GAINESVILLE, Va. -- Tiger Woods knows he's played poorly over the past two years. Now, he's facing the prospect of an early end to his season.

Normally, the Quicken Loans National would be the beginning of a busy stretch of golf for Woods, including the year's final major, a World Golf Championship and the FedEx Cup playoffs.

TEE TIMES: Quicken Loans National

Not this year. Barring a dramatic turnaround, this week's tournament will be his second-to-last before the new PGA Tour season begins in the fall.

Woods is 197th in the FedEx Cup standings — the top 125 make the playoffs — and he needs a victory just to be eligible for next week's Bridgestone Invitational, on a course where he's won eight times. His last victory was at Firestone two years ago.

Woods was sidelined three months after back surgery in 2014, and this year he took two months off to fix a balky short game. He said Tuesday that he doesn't feel a huge sense of urgency because he hasn't played much competitive golf, something caddie Joe LaCava is always reminding him.

"Still trying to make a big, major swing change. Problems with my pattern and my short game," Woods said, reciting the litany of woes that have seen him fall to 266th in the world. "I haven't scored very well. I missed cuts. I haven't done much in the last couple of years and so I haven't played a whole lot of golf in the last couple years. That's what Joey keeps reminding me of, 'Would you just relax?'"

If Woods is feeling stressed, it wasn't evident during Tuesday morning's practice round. He joked around with good friend Arjun Atwal, turning serious only when Atwal ribbed him about getting older. "I'm not 40 yet," said Woods, who'll reach that milestone in December.

Woods mostly found the fairways with his driver and routinely flew the ball 30 yards past Atwal. He said he hits the ball about a club farther in the muggy summer weather — in contrast to the cold and wind he battled in the British Open at St. Andrews, where he missed the cut.

Woods said after his latest disappointing finish in a major that his "spin rates" were off. But he didn't touch a club for a week after St. Andrews, instead going diving with his children in the Bahamas.

"When I geared back up, started doing some testing and found a couple little things but wasn't anything major, which was nice," Woods said. "Some of my swings just weren't quite right."

In eight events this year, Woods has missed three cuts and withdrawn once. He's shot five rounds in the 60s and three rounds in the 80s. His best finish is a tie for 17th at the Masters. While he used to find ways to break par when his game wasn't sharp, now he said he's shooting 74 or worse.

"I'm not scoring, obviously," he said. "I've had chances to make those runs and I just haven't done it."

Woods is the host of the Quicken Loans National, which benefits his foundation. This year it's being played for the first time at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, about 35 miles west of the nation's capital. Next year it will return to Congressional, where it's been played six times.

RTJ has hosted four Presidents Cups, most recently in 2005.

"It's a lot bigger golf course than I remember in '05," Woods said. "We played some more up tees back then, but the game has changed the past 10 years. Everybody hits the ball a little bit further."

Congressional attracted elite fields its first few years, but this year's event has a tough spot on the calendar, with many players taking a week off ahead of the Bridgestone and the PGA Championship. Just five of the world's top 50 are playing, including defending champion Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler.

World No. 14 Jimmy Walker comes in relatively fresh, having played just three times since May. He's gearing up for the big events that Woods is in danger of missing.

"I played with him at Augusta this year. You could tell he really wanted to make the putts and hit the good shots," Walker said of Woods. "It looks like he's got the drive to get things going for him. I hope he does."

This article was written by Ben Nuckols from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Jason Day rallies to win Canadian Open

USA Today Sports Images
Jason Day birdied 16, 17 and 18 during Sunday's final round of the RBC Canadian Championship to hold off Bubba Watson and David Hearn.

OAKVILLE, Ontario -- Jason Day birdied the final three holes to win the Canadian Open on Sunday, spoiling David Hearn's bid to become the first Canadian winner in 61 years.

WATCH: Jason Day sinks clutch putt on 18

Day made a 20-foot putt on the par-5 18th for a 4-under 68 and a one-stroke victory over Bubba Watson. Day finished at 17-under 271 at Glen Abbey.

"This must feel like what Tiger (Woods) did for so many times, and it feels good," Day said. "I'm going to try to do as much as I can and keep it the same and try and win."

Day was coming off a fourth-place tie Monday in the British Open at St. Andrews. The 28-year-old Australian also fought through vertigo symptoms last month to tie for ninth in the U.S. Open. He has four PGA Tour victories, also winning at Torrey Pines in February.

Watson birdied the final four holes for a 69.

Day birdied three of the first seven holes, but dropped strokes on Nos. 8 and 9. Playing a group ahead of Watson and Hearn, Day parred the first six holes on the back nine, then birdied the par-5 16th and par-4 17th to take a one-stroke lead.

Hearn, two strokes ahead of Day and Watson entering the round, had a 72 to finish third at 15 under.

"I gave it my all. I didn't quite have my best game," said Hearn, from Brantford -- also hockey great Wayne Gretzky's hometown. "I'm real proud of the way I played and I'm really proud to be Canadian today. It was a pretty special day with all of the fans and the support that I had from beginning to finish."

Pat Fletcher, born in England, was the last Canadian winner in 1954 at Point Grey in Vancouver, British Columbia. Carl Keffer is the only Canadian-born champion, winning in 1909 and 1914. Albert Murray, a Canadian also born in England, won in 1908 and 1913.

"It's a matter of time," fourth-place Jim Furyk said. "There are so many good Canadian players. I feel bad Mike Weir never won this golf tournament. But Graham DeLaet, David, there are a bunch of fine young players, so I'm sure it's going to happen."

Hearn birdied the first two holes, but gave back the strokes with bogeys on Nos. 3 and 7. He also bogeyed the par-3 12th, birdied the par-5 13th and closed with five pars.

"He was playing so good, he started off hot," Watson said. "He putts unbelievable. There was so many putts that he hit that should've fell in. I don't know how they stayed out. For him and Canada that would've been a great story. That would've been his first win. How amazing would that have been?"

Two-time winner Furyk had a 69 to reach 14 under.

Stewart Cink and Tom Hoge followed at 13 under, each shooting 66.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Series: PGA Tour

Published: Sunday, July 26, 2015 | 10:53 p.m.

OAKVILLE, Ontario -- Jason Day birdied the final three holes to win the Canadian Open on Sunday, spoiling David Hearn's bid to become the first Canadian winner in 61 years.

WATCH: Jason Day sinks clutch putt on 18

Day made a 20-foot putt on the par-5 18th for a 4-under 68 and a one-stroke victory over Bubba Watson. Day finished at 17-under 271 at Glen Abbey.

"This must feel like what Tiger (Woods) did for so many times, and it feels good," Day said. "I'm going to try to do as much as I can and keep it the same and try and win."

Day was coming off a fourth-place tie Monday in the British Open at St. Andrews. The 28-year-old Australian also fought through vertigo symptoms last month to tie for ninth in the U.S. Open. He has four PGA Tour victories, also winning at Torrey Pines in February.

Watson birdied the final four holes for a 69.

Day birdied three of the first seven holes, but dropped strokes on Nos. 8 and 9. Playing a group ahead of Watson and Hearn, Day parred the first six holes on the back nine, then birdied the par-5 16th and par-4 17th to take a one-stroke lead.

Hearn, two strokes ahead of Day and Watson entering the round, had a 72 to finish third at 15 under.

"I gave it my all. I didn't quite have my best game," said Hearn, from Brantford -- also hockey great Wayne Gretzky's hometown. "I'm real proud of the way I played and I'm really proud to be Canadian today. It was a pretty special day with all of the fans and the support that I had from beginning to finish."

Pat Fletcher, born in England, was the last Canadian winner in 1954 at Point Grey in Vancouver, British Columbia. Carl Keffer is the only Canadian-born champion, winning in 1909 and 1914. Albert Murray, a Canadian also born in England, won in 1908 and 1913.

"It's a matter of time," fourth-place Jim Furyk said. "There are so many good Canadian players. I feel bad Mike Weir never won this golf tournament. But Graham DeLaet, David, there are a bunch of fine young players, so I'm sure it's going to happen."

Hearn birdied the first two holes, but gave back the strokes with bogeys on Nos. 3 and 7. He also bogeyed the par-3 12th, birdied the par-5 13th and closed with five pars.

"He was playing so good, he started off hot," Watson said. "He putts unbelievable. There was so many putts that he hit that should've fell in. I don't know how they stayed out. For him and Canada that would've been a great story. That would've been his first win. How amazing would that have been?"

Two-time winner Furyk had a 69 to reach 14 under.

Stewart Cink and Tom Hoge followed at 13 under, each shooting 66.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Australia's Rebecca Artis wins Ladies Scottish Open

TROON, Scotland -- Australia's Rebecca Artis rallied to win the Ladies Scottish Open, shooting a 6-under 66 on Sunday in windy and rainy conditions for a two-stroke victory over Norway's Suzann Pettersen.

Artis, six strokes behind Pettersen at the start of the round, finished at 6-under 210 at Dundonald Links in the final Ladies European Tour event before the Women's British Open at Turnberry.

"Sometimes you fight all your life to try and get that first win and sometimes the second win is maybe even harder," said Artis, also the Helsingborg Open winner two years ago in Sweden.

RELATED: Thompson wins Meijer LPGA Classic

"I've been playing some really consistent golf since the start of the year, putting myself in contention week in, week out. I knew that with the conditions the way they were predicted to be today that if I went out and played some solid golf, then I wouldn't be far away."

Pettersen closed with a 74.

"I played pretty well today and gave myself a lot of chances," Pettersen said. "It was not on the easy side. For Artis to shoot 66, definitely deserves to win."

England's Holly Clyburn was third at 2 under after a 74.

Second-ranked Lydia Ko of New Zealand tied for fourth at 1 under with the Czech Republic's Klara Spilkova. Ko had a 74, and Spilkova shot 72.


Series: Other Tour

Published: Sunday, July 26, 2015 | 9:12 p.m.

TROON, Scotland -- Australia's Rebecca Artis rallied to win the Ladies Scottish Open, shooting a 6-under 66 on Sunday in windy and rainy conditions for a two-stroke victory over Norway's Suzann Pettersen.

Artis, six strokes behind Pettersen at the start of the round, finished at 6-under 210 at Dundonald Links in the final Ladies European Tour event before the Women's British Open at Turnberry.

"Sometimes you fight all your life to try and get that first win and sometimes the second win is maybe even harder," said Artis, also the Helsingborg Open winner two years ago in Sweden.

RELATED: Thompson wins Meijer LPGA Classic

"I've been playing some really consistent golf since the start of the year, putting myself in contention week in, week out. I knew that with the conditions the way they were predicted to be today that if I went out and played some solid golf, then I wouldn't be far away."

Pettersen closed with a 74.

"I played pretty well today and gave myself a lot of chances," Pettersen said. "It was not on the easy side. For Artis to shoot 66, definitely deserves to win."

England's Holly Clyburn was third at 2 under after a 74.

Second-ranked Lydia Ko of New Zealand tied for fourth at 1 under with the Czech Republic's Klara Spilkova. Ko had a 74, and Spilkova shot 72.


Lexi Thompson rallies to win Meijer LPGA Classic in Michigan

BELMONT, Mich. -- Lexi Thompson made sure she didn't beat herself -- and ended up defeating everyone else.

"I was just trying to be patient," Thompson said after rallying from four shots back to win the Meijer LPGA Classic by a stroke Sunday. "Really, the whole day I was just trying to play my own game."

The 20-year-old Florida player closed with a 6-under 65 at Blythefield Country Club for her fifth LPGA Tour victory. She won for the first time since the then-Kraft Nabisco Championship last year.

RELATED: LPGA embraces social media

Thompson finished at 18-under 266 and earned $300,000.

"I actually said when I was on 10 that my goal was to get to 20-under," Thompson said. "I didn't get it up to that, but I was just trying to focus on my own game, focus on my pre-shot routine and having fun in between shots. I think that's what helped me."

Lizette Salas, four strokes ahead after the third round, tied for second with Gerina Piller. Salsas finished with a 70, and Piller had a 64.

Thompson birdied Nos. 1, 4, 5 and 7 to catch Salas. Piller made five birdies on the front nine, with her birdie at No. 8 briefly tying her for the lead with Thompson and Salas.

But Thompson, ranked seventh on the tour in average driving distance and greens in regulation, kept bombing drives, spinning wedge shots and making putts. A 6-footer for birdie off a wedge to the back pin on the 400-yard, par-4 16th put her three shots in front.

Thompson created some drama when she missed the green at No. 17 and rimmed a 4-foot par putt. She caught a good bounce off a tree down the right side of No. 18 on her tee shot, ripped a shot from the rough to the middle of the green and two-putted for a winning par.

"I called my caddie over and I told him to give me something to think about to get my mind off it," she said about the first putt on 18. "He just said something so random, like, food. And I'm like, of course. But it kept me relaxed and got me laughing and it helped me go into that putt confident."

Thompson worked in the offseason with John Denney, a Jupiter, Florida, performance coach who specializes in the mental side of golf.

"That has helped me tremendously just to relax and have fun instead of just grinding 24-7 on the golf course," she said.

Piller had hit all 15 greens and was 7 under for the round when she missed the green at No. 16 with tree troubles on the left side of the par 4. She made bogey for the first time. A 7-footer for birdie at No. 18 left her one shot behind.

"I knew it was going to take a great day and I gave it a run," said Piller, whose husband, Web.com Tour player Martin Piller, was in the gallery. "I just kind of stumbled with the tee shot (at No. 16) at the end. I couldn't afford one mistake, and I made one."

Salas had three birdies and three bogeys through 16 holes, and stayed in it with a 20-foot birdie putt at No. 17. But she could manage only par at No. 18.

"I knew there would be some birdies out there and I knew I was capable of getting them," she said. "I just hit some errant tee shots that caused some bogeys, but I didn't give up. And, obviously, I can't control what Lexi does, and she played an amazing day of golf."

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Series: LPGA Tour

Published: Sunday, July 26, 2015 | 8:44 p.m.

BELMONT, Mich. -- Lexi Thompson made sure she didn't beat herself -- and ended up defeating everyone else.

"I was just trying to be patient," Thompson said after rallying from four shots back to win the Meijer LPGA Classic by a stroke Sunday. "Really, the whole day I was just trying to play my own game."

The 20-year-old Florida player closed with a 6-under 65 at Blythefield Country Club for her fifth LPGA Tour victory. She won for the first time since the then-Kraft Nabisco Championship last year.

RELATED: LPGA embraces social media

Thompson finished at 18-under 266 and earned $300,000.

"I actually said when I was on 10 that my goal was to get to 20-under," Thompson said. "I didn't get it up to that, but I was just trying to focus on my own game, focus on my pre-shot routine and having fun in between shots. I think that's what helped me."

Lizette Salas, four strokes ahead after the third round, tied for second with Gerina Piller. Salsas finished with a 70, and Piller had a 64.

Thompson birdied Nos. 1, 4, 5 and 7 to catch Salas. Piller made five birdies on the front nine, with her birdie at No. 8 briefly tying her for the lead with Thompson and Salas.

But Thompson, ranked seventh on the tour in average driving distance and greens in regulation, kept bombing drives, spinning wedge shots and making putts. A 6-footer for birdie off a wedge to the back pin on the 400-yard, par-4 16th put her three shots in front.

Thompson created some drama when she missed the green at No. 17 and rimmed a 4-foot par putt. She caught a good bounce off a tree down the right side of No. 18 on her tee shot, ripped a shot from the rough to the middle of the green and two-putted for a winning par.

"I called my caddie over and I told him to give me something to think about to get my mind off it," she said about the first putt on 18. "He just said something so random, like, food. And I'm like, of course. But it kept me relaxed and got me laughing and it helped me go into that putt confident."

Thompson worked in the offseason with John Denney, a Jupiter, Florida, performance coach who specializes in the mental side of golf.

"That has helped me tremendously just to relax and have fun instead of just grinding 24-7 on the golf course," she said.

Piller had hit all 15 greens and was 7 under for the round when she missed the green at No. 16 with tree troubles on the left side of the par 4. She made bogey for the first time. A 7-footer for birdie at No. 18 left her one shot behind.

"I knew it was going to take a great day and I gave it a run," said Piller, whose husband, Web.com Tour player Martin Piller, was in the gallery. "I just kind of stumbled with the tee shot (at No. 16) at the end. I couldn't afford one mistake, and I made one."

Salas had three birdies and three bogeys through 16 holes, and stayed in it with a 20-foot birdie putt at No. 17. But she could manage only par at No. 18.

"I knew there would be some birdies out there and I knew I was capable of getting them," she said. "I just hit some errant tee shots that caused some bogeys, but I didn't give up. And, obviously, I can't control what Lexi does, and she played an amazing day of golf."

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Dawson beats Langer and Montgomerie for Senior Open title

SUNNINGDALE, England -- American Marco Dawson held off the twin challenge of super stars Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie over the final nine holes to claim victory in a thrilling climax to the Senior British Open Championship on Sunday.

Dawson finished with a 16-under par total of 264 to claim his second title on the Senior Tour this year after more than 12 years without a victory.

"This is unbelievable," said Florida-based Dawson, who played over 400 events on the PGA Tour without a win.

"Can't tell you how many hours I've put in on the range. I've had two back surgeries to prove it and I know it has come later than most of the guys. But it came true."

In a see-saw struggle, played out for the main part in intermittent rain and a fresh breeze, Dawson hit the front for the first time when he claimed his second eagle of the round at the long 14th, then sank a birdie putt from 25ft at the final hole to dash Langer's hopes, the German being half that distance away with a chance to draw level.

RELATED: Hole No.1 flyover at Whistling Straits

The reigning champion holed his birdie putt to match Dawson's closing 64, but it left him a shot shy of his sixth senior major.

"The three-wood I hit in the mist and rain at the 14th was probably one of the best I have ever hit and set up the eagle," said Dawson.

"Marco played phenomenally," said Langer. "Things went for him, he holed a bunker shot and had two eagles and leap-frogged both Monty and I. Then he made an amazing putt on 18 and I couldn't tie him."

RELATED: Willett wins European Maters

Leading on ten under after completing the last nine holes of their third round in the morning, Montgomerie and Dawson and Langer, who was a stroke back, teed off in the afternoon for what turned out to be an epic contest.

All three parred the 15th, 16th and 17th, then when Dawson's drive split the fairway at the final hole and he hit the green with his second and holed the putt, he clinched the title to add to his Tucson Open win back in March.

Among the rewards for Dawson is a place at Royal Troon in the Open Championship next year.

"Isn't that nice. So I'll be here for two weeks next year," said Dawson. "It's a lot of fun playing golf over here."

Miguel Angel Jimenez finished alone in fourth place on 11-under 269 after a closing 67, bagging three birdies and an eagle at the long 14th when his second shot hit the pin and stopped just inches away.


Series: Senior PGA

Published: Sunday, July 26, 2015 | 8:41 p.m.

SUNNINGDALE, England -- American Marco Dawson held off the twin challenge of super stars Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie over the final nine holes to claim victory in a thrilling climax to the Senior British Open Championship on Sunday.

Dawson finished with a 16-under par total of 264 to claim his second title on the Senior Tour this year after more than 12 years without a victory.

"This is unbelievable," said Florida-based Dawson, who played over 400 events on the PGA Tour without a win.

"Can't tell you how many hours I've put in on the range. I've had two back surgeries to prove it and I know it has come later than most of the guys. But it came true."

In a see-saw struggle, played out for the main part in intermittent rain and a fresh breeze, Dawson hit the front for the first time when he claimed his second eagle of the round at the long 14th, then sank a birdie putt from 25ft at the final hole to dash Langer's hopes, the German being half that distance away with a chance to draw level.

RELATED: Hole No.1 flyover at Whistling Straits

The reigning champion holed his birdie putt to match Dawson's closing 64, but it left him a shot shy of his sixth senior major.

"The three-wood I hit in the mist and rain at the 14th was probably one of the best I have ever hit and set up the eagle," said Dawson.

"Marco played phenomenally," said Langer. "Things went for him, he holed a bunker shot and had two eagles and leap-frogged both Monty and I. Then he made an amazing putt on 18 and I couldn't tie him."

RELATED: Willett wins European Maters

Leading on ten under after completing the last nine holes of their third round in the morning, Montgomerie and Dawson and Langer, who was a stroke back, teed off in the afternoon for what turned out to be an epic contest.

All three parred the 15th, 16th and 17th, then when Dawson's drive split the fairway at the final hole and he hit the green with his second and holed the putt, he clinched the title to add to his Tucson Open win back in March.

Among the rewards for Dawson is a place at Royal Troon in the Open Championship next year.

"Isn't that nice. So I'll be here for two weeks next year," said Dawson. "It's a lot of fun playing golf over here."

Miguel Angel Jimenez finished alone in fourth place on 11-under 269 after a closing 67, bagging three birdies and an eagle at the long 14th when his second shot hit the pin and stopped just inches away.


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