Tiger Nails Down 74th Victory

Overcoming roasting heat and a very strange third round, Tiger Woods closed with a steady 2-under 69 Sunday to win the $6.5 million event AT&T National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.

Woods started the day tied for second with Bo Van Pelt, a stroke behind leader Brendon de Jonge. But thanks to some slips by his two playing partners in the last group, Woods' three-birdie-one-bogey Sunday was enough to give him a 72-hole total of 8-under 276, two strokes better than Van Pelt (71).

His third victory this year, worth $1.17 million and the 74th of his storied career, moved Woods past Jack Nicklaus to second on the win list, eight behind all-time leader Sam Snead. It also moved Woods to the top of the season-long FedEx Cup standings.

"What a weird week," Woods said at greenside in reference to the powerful Friday night storm that extensively damaged the course and kept spectators and all but essential volunteers away on Saturday.

"The staff and maintenance crew were great. Thank you to everyone for being patient with us," said Woods, whose eponymous foundation is the tournament's prime beneficiary.

Van Pelt had his chances to prevent Woods from winning the AT&T National for the second time (his first came in 2009). The 37-year-old from Indiana went head-to-head against the 14-time major winner and, thanks to four birdies and a bogey through 15 holes, had the lead. But he carded bogeys - particularly crucial was the one at the par-5 16th, which Woods also bogeyed - on the final three holes.

"Obviously disappointed in the final result but happy how I played for pretty much the whole day," Van Pelt said. "I was excited for the opportunity. Felt like my game was in good shape, and felt like I played well. Obviously not happy with the finish, but all in all, I wouldn't change any club I hit or any line I took or thoughts I was having, just didn't work out."

The 31-year-old de Jonge was searching for his first PGA Tour win; but it wasn't to be as the Zimbabwean had an off-day and could only muster a six-bogey 77. The former player at Virginia Tech slipped down the leaderboard into a tie for 11th at 1-under 283.

Adam Scott closed with a fine 4-under 67 to finish in solo third at 5-under 279, while sharing fourth at 280 were Robert Garrigus (70), Jhonattan Vegas (71), Seung-Yul Noh (73) and Billy Hurley III (72).

Jason Day, the runner-up to Rory McIlroy in last year's U.S. Open at Congressional, had it going early with four birdies through 12 holes. But three bogeys on the inward half gave the Aussie a 70 and an eighth-place finish with Hunter Mahan (73).

Nick Watney (71) finished in solo 10th at 282, while sharing 11th another shot back with de Jonge were Brian Harman (67), Scotland's Martin Laird (69) and John Mallinger (73).

"I had a lot of chances out there," Watney said. "Today I got off to a really nice start. I hit a big of I snag in the middle of my round. But overall I'm pleased, feel like I'm headed in the right direction, and looking forward to the rest of the year."

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