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Continued: No contest: Woods parlays big lead into 7-shot victory at Bridgestone, favorite's role at PGA

  • Article by: RUSTY MILLER , AP Sports Writer
  • Last update: August 5, 2013 - 6:12 AM

Tied for fourth were Cleveland-born Jason Dufner (71), Miguel Angel Jimenez (69) and Zach Johnson (67) at 6 under. Bill Haas and Chris Wood each shot a 71 and were at 5 under, with Martin Kaymer, who matched the day's best round with a 66, at 4 under along with Furyk, Richard Sterne and Luke Donald.

For those betting Woods won't win next week at Oak Hill, keep in mind that he has already won both the Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in the same year three times in his career (2000, 2006, 2007).

Still, the odds do not favor him coming right back with another win. In the 19 times in which he has won his last start before a major, he's only followed up with a win four times: 2000 U.S. Open (after winning The Memorial), 2001 Masters (Players), 2006 PGA (Buick) and 2007 PGA (Bridgestone).

The victory was Woods' 79th on the PGA Tour, drawing him within three of Snead's record 82 triumphs.

"The total body of work is pretty good," Woods said. "One of the things I'm proud of, obviously, is how many times I've won, plus won World Golf Championships and how many years I've won five or more tournaments in a season. What is it, like eight or nine times? Ten? That's not bad, either."

Lest anyone think he'll have difficulty surpassing Snead's total, consider that Woods is over 10 years younger (he's 37½) than Snead was when he won his 82nd and final event, the 1965 Greater Greensboro.

Even though he's a California native, Woods has found a second home in Ohio where he has 13 victories — five at the Memorial Tournament.

Woods won the Bridgestone, and it's forerunner the NEC Invitational, about every way imaginable: overcoming a crazy shot that went onto the clubhouse roof, putting out in almost total darkness, running away early, outdueling a foe down the stretch.

Woods, who has five wins this year to have at least that many in a year for the 10th time, also has won 18 World Golf Championship series events in just 42 starts.

Really, he won the tournament in the rain Friday.

The 61 he had in the second round — he needed to go just 2 under over the final five holes to shoot a magical 59 — matched his career best, mustered three previous times including once before at Firestone.

In the two previous times he won the Bridgestone and then played in the PGA Championship, he finished first at Southern Hills in 2007 and then placed second — blowing a final-round lead to Y.E. Yang — in 2009 at Hazeltine.

He's far from a lock next week, however.

Woods has not won in his last 17 starts in a major, calling into question his shot at surpassing Jack Nicklaus' record 18 victories in majors. Woods has 14 — and all eyes will be on him as he heads to Pittsford, N.Y.

Among those watching him will be the defending champion.

"The second-round 61 was phenomenal," 2012 PGA Championship winner Rory McIlroy said. "He does well on every course he plays, but he comes back to a few courses on tour that he seems to really excel at.

"And, obviously, this is one of them."

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