Notebook: Tiger matches personal best with 28 birdies

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Tiger Woods' Sunday 63 was his best round on the PGA TOUR since March.
October 28, 2012
Chris Reimer, PGA TOUR Staff

CIMB CLASSIC: Watney threatens 59, wins | Leaderboard | Highlights | Woods interview

Weather: Mostly sunny and humid, with the high reaching 93 and heat index at more than 105. Winds W-NW 2-4 MPH.

Nick Watney 71-65-65-61=262 (-22)

Watney came from four strokes off the lead to shoot a final-round, course-record and personal-best 61 to win the 2012 CIMB Classic in his first-ever appearance at the event. Watney's lowest career round on the PGA TOUR is a 62 during the third round of the 2011 AT&T National where he shot 27 on the back nine. His best final-round score on the PGA TOUR is a 63 at the final round of the 2011 Farmers Insurance Open.

The four-round total of 262 is one off the tournament record set by Bo Van Pelt in 2011.

At 31 years, 6 months and 3 days, Watney is the youngest player to win the CIMB Classic. All three winners of the event have been from the United States and in their 30s.

Watney is the first player to come-from-behind after the third round in the three-year history of the event.

It has been an interesting week for Watney. His favorite baseball team, the San Francisco Giants, are off to a 3-0 series lead in the Major League Baseball's World Series. His caddie, Chad Reynolds, suffered from heat exhaustion and dehydration on Thursday and was unable to complete the first round. When Reynolds was taken to a local hospital and given fluids via IV, Watney's wife, Amber, carried the bag the rest of the round. Watney used a local caddie on Friday while Reynolds recovered.

"I have a whole new outlook and respect for what caddies go through," Amber said. "It was fun, but not sure I'll be doing it again anytime soon. I feel terrible for Chad. It's never happened to him before and I know he wants to be out here."

For the week, Watney recorded 25 birdies, despite only having one birdie during Thursday's opening round. The 25 birdies by Watney match the most he has recorded in a four-round PGA TOUR event (2006 Reno-Tahoe Open -- finished T5).

After posting just three top 10s through his first 21 starts in 2012 with his best finish a solo 8th at the Wells Fargo Championship in May, Watney turned his season around with a three-shot victory over eventual FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker at The Barclays, the first event in the FedExCup Playoffs. The victory, Watney's fifth on the PGA TOUR, propelled him to the top of the FedExCup standings and he would go on to finish No. 4, his second top-10 finish in the season-long points race in the last two years.

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Bo Van Pelt 70-65-62-66=263 (-21)

Defending champion Van Pelt fell one stroke short of defending his 2011 CIMB Classic title. Van Pelt, who entered the final round tied for the lead with Robert Garrigus, shot a final-round 5-under-par 66, making par on the 18th hole to settle for T2 on week after winning the ISPS HANDA Perth International.

A year ago, Van Pelt won the inaugural CIMB Classic with rounds of 66-64-67-64. His scoring average at the Mines Resort and Golf Club now stands at 65.5.

Van Pelt nearly made the most of his first title defense. His other win on the PGA TOUR came at the 2009 US Bank Championship in Milwaukee in the event's last year on the schedule. He won the 2003 Omaha Classic on the Web.com Tour, but graduated to the PGA TOUR the following year and thus did not return to defend his title.

Van Pelt returned to defend his CIMB Classic title on the heels of perhaps his best season on the PGA TOUR after posting 10 top 10s in 24 starts and finishing a career-best No. 22 in the FedExCup standings. Among Van Pelt's 10 top 10s was a runner-up finish to Tiger Woods at the AT&T National in July and a pair of T10s at the BMW Championship in his home state of Indiana and the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Van Pelt claimed the 2011 CIMB Classic in convincing fashion, posting a four-day total of 23-under-par 261, good for a six-shot victory over Jeff Overton.

Robert Garrigus 64-64-69-66=263 (-21)

Garrigus shot a back-nine 32 that included birdies on the final two holes to tie for second at the CIMB Classic. The T2 continues a strong 2012 campaign in which he posted seven top-10 finishes on the PGA TOUR, including a runner-up finish at the Transitions Championship, where he lost in a playoff to Luke Donald, and a T2 at the RBC Canadian Open. Garrigus finished No. 23 in the FedExCup.

Before this event, Garrigus had held or shared the 54-hole lead three previous times on the PGA TOUR, the last of which came at this year's 2012 RBC Canadian Open. He finished all three events in second. He also entered with the lead and finished second this week.

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Tiger Woods 66-67-69-63=265 (-19)

Woods shot a bogey-free 8-under-par 63 on Sunday to finish T4 in his first CIMB Classic appearance. The last time Woods shot 63 or better on the PGA TOUR was a 62 during the final round of this year's Honda Classic, where he finished T2.

For the second consecutive day, Woods shot 30 on the front nine. Unlike Saturday, when Woods shot 39 on the back including three bogeys and on double bogey, Woods continued his solid play on the back nine with a 33.

Woods had 28 birdies this week at the CIMB Classic. This matches the most birdies he has ever recorded in a single event on the PGA TOUR. He also had 28 birdies in the 2006 Buick Open and the 2007 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. He won both of those events.

Jbe Kruger 66-64-69-68=267 (-17)

South African Jbe' Kruger recorded all four rounds in the 60s and finished 8th, the best finish of the week by a player from the Asian Tour. Kruger gained entry into the co-sanctioned event by virtue of his No. 3 position on the Asian Tour Order of Merit. Kruger won the Avantha Masters this year for his first victory on the Asian Tour.

This is Kruger's second appearance at the CIMB Classic. He finished T28 here last year.

Kruger's results at other PGA TOUR events include missing the cut at this year's British Open, a T57 at this year's World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship and a T23 at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions. Kruger will continue on to play in next week's World Golf Championships-HSBC-Champions.

• The best-ever finish at the CIMB Classic by a member of the Asian Tour was a T5 by Mardan Mamat in 2010.

Scott Piercy opened the CIMB Classic with a disappointing 75 and was tied for last place following the first round. Piercy admitted he wasn't hitting the ball well that day, but suggested that traveling overseas for the first time in his life and learning to deal with the effects of jet lag might have had something to do with his 4-over-par round.

"I had a little trouble trying to figure out what my body was feeling. I woke up in the morning and up for a couple hours and the clock says 8:00 in the morning, but my body felt like it was 5:00 at night," said Piercy, who won the RBC Canadian Open earlier this year. "I figured something out in my swing that helped and as the week went along it got better. I got confident the more I saw the ball going in the hole and the more I saw the ball going where I was looking."

Following his 75, Piercy went right back out to the driving range on Thursday despite the high temperatures and thick humidity. The work paid off as he battled back with improving scores each day. Piercy shot 68 and 64 in the second and third rounds, respectively. A course-record tying 62 (at the time) in the final round moved Piercy into the top 10 at 15 under.

43 players (out of 48) posted sub-par rounds Saturday.

Bogey-free rounds:

Round 1: Troy Matteson (63); Jeff Overton (64); Danny Chia (66); Kevin Na (67); Kevin Stadler (67)

Round 2: Greg Chalmers (66); Troy Matteson (69); Brendon De Jonge (65); Trevor Immelman (63); AnirbanLahiri (66)

Round 3: Chris Kirk; Greg Chalmers; Bill Haas; John Senden (66); Seung-Yul Noh (67); Marcus Fraser (65); Bob Estes (70);

Round 4: Tiger Woods; Scott Piercy; Gaganjeet Bhullar (67); Seung-Yul Noh (66); John Huh (68); Kyle Stanley (66); William McGirt (69)

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