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Tiger hits stride ahead of Open Championship

by Sean Goff | July 2, 2012

Tiger Woods

IN THE GROOVE: Woods win at the AT&T saw him overtake Jack Nicklaus with 74 Tour wins (Inpho)

By Sean Goff | Sports reporter

Driving rain and howling winds are usually associated with links golf but the storms that hit the AT&T Championship in Maryland didn’t stop Tiger Woods.

Woods continued on his road to redemption with a two-stroke win over Bo Van Pelt and was cut to 6/1 favourite for the Open Championship at Royal Lytham on July 19.

The World No. 4 hasn’t won the Open Championship since 2006 after earlier victories in 2005 and 2000 and admitted that links golf “is a different game” as he bids to add to his 14 Majors in just under three weeks time.

Woods last won a Major in 2008 when he captured the US Open but with three wins in his last seven tournaments he is sure to be popular each-way in Paddy Power’s 1/4 the odds the first SEVEN online betting market.

Sunday’s victory at Congressional marked a milestone in Woods’ career as he recorded his 74th PGA Tour victory to move one ahead of Jack Nicklaus for the number of Tour wins and is now just eight titles behind Sam Snead in the all-time record books.

And Woods was quick to target Snead’s record as his next goal.

“I’ve had a pretty good career,” Woods said.

To do it at 36, I feel like I have a lot of years ahead of me. I’ve had a number of good years in my career so far, and I feel like I’ve got a lot more ahead of me.

Woods ended his two-and-a-half-year drought on Tour following well-publicised sex scandals when winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational by five strokes in March but is still anchored on 14 Majors. That’s four behind Jack Nicklaus record and an in-form Tiger will want to chip into that lead in a little over a fortnight’s time. 

Golf Britsh Open

ROUGH TERRAIN: The Open returns to Royal Lytham & St Annes for the first time since 2001

Meanwhile, Jamie Donaldson (36) recorded his first European Tour success with a four-stroke win in the Irish Open at Portrush. The Welshman carded a six-under-par 66 for a maiden Tour win after 32 top 10 finishes since he turned pro 12 years ago.

It completed a good month for Donaldson who claimed one of the coveted 10 spots at the Open qualifier at Sunningdale last month, ahead of former Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie and present captain Jose Maria Olazabal.

The win also saw him climb to a career-high ranking 63. Next up on the European Tour is the French Open on Thursday.

The Scottish Open follows a week later where traditionally US Tour players begin to migrate to get their eye in for links golf’s unique challenges in the Open Championship a week later.

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