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March 25 2013

1:21 PM

King of the Hill: Woods wins again

By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Tiger Woods is on top again.

Woods finished off a 2-under 70 Monday at Bay Hill, where he won his eighth Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard. The victory moves Woods to No. 1 in the FedExCup standings, and to No. 1 in the world for the first time since Oct. 31, 2010.

He also joins Sam Snead as the only other player to have won the same event eight times. It is Woods' third victory of the season and sixth in his last 19 stroke-play starts on the PGA TOUR.

"No, I didn't think anyone would (match that record)," Arnold Palmer said. "I don't see anyone touching that for a long time."

Justin Rose (70) finished second at 11 under.

Rickie Fowler, who was within two of Woods with three holes to play, tied for third after twice hitting into the water on the par-5 16th. He shot 73.

Though it had been three years since Woods was on top of golf -- at one point his world ranking sank as low as 58 -- his performance at Bay Hill was vintage.

Woods led the field in putting and was dominant on the par 5s, playing them in a collective 14 under, which included four birdies on Monday.

"The three events I've won, I've putted well," said Woods, who took just 110 putts for the week, fourth-fewest in the field. "To be that steady and hit the ball that solidly and that flush ... That feels good, especially when it's blowing like this."

Even Woods' competitors couldn't help but come away being impressed.

"I would say iron play and putting is looking fantastic," said Rose, who played alongside Woods the first two rounds at Bay Hill. "When he's got mid‑iron in his hand, there is nobody better.

"I thought on Friday, he could have shot 65; he shot 70. That was the day he let the round slip. But that just shows he's able to hit those quality shots and go low again."

Indeed.

In all of Woods' wins this season, he has had a comfortable lead on Sunday. That leaves Woods confident with the year's first major just two weeks away.

"I've turned some of the weaknesses that I had last year into strengths," he said. "I'm really excited about the rest of this year.

"The very beginning of the year I was excited because of how the end of last year turned. My short game came around, I thought my swing was getting better, my short irons got better, lo and behold, I won a few tournaments this year."

And it's only March.

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