- The Washington Times - Monday, February 4, 2008

From combined dispatches

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Tiger Woods watched his 25-foot putt race down the slope and bend toward the cup, then he skipped backward and punched the desert air in celebration when it disappeared into the cup for a final birdie.

So ended his spectacular charge yesterday to win the Dubai Desert Classic over Ernie Els, a familiar victim. Woods birdied his last two holes and five of his last seven for a 7-under 65 to start his season with two victories that looked nothing alike.

One week was an eight-shot victory at the Buick Invitational. The next week was his largest comeback in eight years when Woods rallied from a four-shot deficit with an array of impressive shots that make him look tougher to beat than he already is.

“I’m just happy to get a win out of this,” Woods said.

It was the third time Woods has started his season 2-0, another sign he could be headed for a big year. He has won his last four official tournaments and six of his last seven dating to the Bridgestone Invitational in early August. Woods also won his unofficial Target World Challenge by seven shots in December.

“It’s the ideal start, isn’t it?” Woods said. “You play to win. So far, I’ve done that this year.”

Woods finished at 14-under 274 for a one-shot victory over Martin Kaymer of Germany. Woods already had posted his score when Kaymer, who won two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi, closed birdie-birdie-eagle for a 66.

Holmes wins playoff

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — J.B. Holmes came back from the brink of defeat to win the FBR Open for the second time in three years, beating Phil Mickelson on the first hole of a playoff.

Holmes birdied the 18th twice in a matter of minutes, first with a 13-foot putt to force the playoff, then with an 8-footer after a monster, 359-yard drive.

Holmes, whose victory as a rookie at the FBR in 2006 is his only other PGA Tour win, had blown a four-stroke lead and was one shot behind going in to the 18th. The far more seasoned Mickelson seemed destined for his third victory in the tournament and 33rd of his career.

But the 25-year-old Kentucky native smashed a 350-yard drive that landed near a fence far left of the fairway. He was awarded a drop, then hit his second shot out of the rough 13 feet from the pin to set up the putt that put him at 14-under 270 and forced the playoff with Mickelson.

Webb prevails

MELBOURNE, Australia — Karrie Webb won her fourth Women’s Australian Open title with a 10-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff against South Korea’s Shin Ji-yai.

Webb, who won last year’s title at Royal Sydney, and Shin had final-round 67s at Kingston Heath to finish at 8-under 284.

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