- The Washington Times - Monday, May 11, 2009

From combined dispatches

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. | Henrik Stenson kept bogeys off his card and clothes on his body, earning fame Sunday for a flawless round of golf and a surprising blowout victory in the Players Championship.

Stenson wondered whether he would be known best for stripping to his underwear to play out of a water hazard at Doral.

This didn’t make for great pictures, but it was close to perfection.

The 33-year-old Swede shot a 6-under 66 and was the only player without a bogey in the final round on a treacherous TPC Sawgrass course that featured firm, fast conditions rarely seen this side of a major.

Trailing by five shots, he took advantage of a swift collapse by Alex Cejka, joined the leaders by chipping in for birdie short of the seventh green and pulled away with a 32 on the back nine when the only drama was the margin of victory.

He wound up four shots clear of Ryder Cup teammate Ian Poulter, who shot a 70 for his best finish on the PGA Tour.

Tiger Woods played in the last group and was never a factor.

He was part of the six-way tie that included Stenson, and even as Cejka faltered to a 42 on the front nine, Woods couldn’t take advantage. He finished with a 1-over 73 to finish alone in eighth. It was his first top 10 at the Players Championship since he won in 2001, and it kept alive his streak of 16 consecutive stroke-play events in the top 10 worldwide.

Stenson, who won for the 10th time in his career worldwide, finished at 12-under 276 and earned $1.71 million. He will move to No. 5 in the world ranking.

It was the second-largest comeback at the Players Championship and matched the largest rally on the Stadium Course. Justin Leonard also came from five shots behind to win in 1998.

Cejka lost his lead in four holes after going at the flag from a bunker and watched his ball carom off the bulkhead and into the water. He made only one birdie and shot a 79.

John Mallinger (70) and Kevin Na (70) tied for third. They were among a dozen players who had hopes of winning on the back nine, one of the most unpredictable stretches in golf.

Stenson never gave anyone much hope.

Davis Love III also played bogey-free for a 64 when he rallied to victory in blustery conditions, although the course was softened by rain. Stenson, playing in the third-to-last group, matched the lowest round of the day, nearly 7.5 strokes better than the field average.

Kerr’s birdie busts tie

WILLIAMSBURG | Cristie Kerr emerged from a four-way tie for the lead with a tap-in birdie on the par-5 15th hole and held on to win her second Michelob Ultra Open.

Kerr, who also won in 2005, went from one shot behind to the lead when Song-Hee Kim of South Korea made a double bogey on the par-4 16th, and Kerr made her birdie moments later a hole behind.

The putt gave her a 16-under total, and when other challengers In-Kyung Kim and third-round co-leader Lindsey Wright also made bogeys, Kerr led by two shots with two holes left.

Kerr finished at 16-under 268 for her 12th career victory and the $330,000 winner’s check.

In-Kyung Kim finished in second place when Wright bogeyed the finishing hole. Wright, who shared the third-round lead with Kerr, and Song-Hee Kim shared fourth at 271.

Vancsik tops Turin

TURIN, Italy | Daniel Vancsik had a 6-under 65 in the final round to win the Italian Open by six strokes for his second European Tour title.

John Daly had a 5-under 66 to move from 11th after the third round into a tie for second with Raphael Jacquelin and Robert Rock, six strokes back of Vancsik, who was 17 under. Daly, a two-time major winner, was playing his second tournament since a four-month break.

It was the fifth consecutive round in which Daly has broken 70.

Vancsik led at the end of the second and third rounds. He made eight birdies and two bogeys in the final round.

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