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WGC Bridgestone Invitational

01/08/13, Thursday

Tiger sits third behind Webb Tiger Woods created the biggest splash, but it was Webb Simpson who impressed the most on the first day of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Thursday in Akron, Ohio.

Woods was on course for the first time since the British Open, and shot a 66, putting him strokes back of Simpson, who reached the greens on 16 of 18 holes.

Keegan Bradley is the tournament's defending champion, and he was in the mix as well on Thursday, shooting 4-under to tie for third alongside Woods.

Both players are one stroke behind Sweden's Henrik Stenson, who was the runner-up at the British Open last month.

Open champion Phil Mickelson had one of the later start times on Friday. Mickelson was 2-over through the first 18 holes.

02/08/13, Friday

Tiger Woods shook the rust off nicely with his opening round 66 at the World Golf Championships-Bridgetsone Invitational in Akron, Ohio.

On Friday, he gave spectators of the old magic.

Woods shot a 9-under 61 to soar from a tie for third to a 7-stroke lead over defending champion Chris Wood and American Keegan Bradley.

Woods was hot from the get-go, shooting birdie, eagle, birdie to start the round, and opening the back nine with four straight birdies.

At 13-under, he's well ahead of Bradley and Woods, who is each 6-under. Bradley was 1-over at the midway point, but birdied No, 11 and 18 to pull the round back together.

Bill Haas and Sweden's Henrik Stenson are tied for fourth at 5-under.

Day One leader Webb Simpson went the wrong way in a hurry, following up his Day One 64 with a 5over 75 that had disaster written over it. Simpson was 1-under through three, then bogeyed No. 4, 9, 12, 13, 15 and 17.

03/08/13, Saturday

It's a flashback weekend for Tiger Woods at the Bridgestone Invitational this weekend in Akron, Ohio.

Playing with the passion and swagger that made him virtually unstoppable a decade ago, Tiger Woods fired a 2-under 68 to maintain his seven-stroke lead entering Sunday's final round.

It wasn't as spectacular as his career-best tying 61 on Friday, but it didn't have to be as Woods was able to close within 18 holes of his eighth career victory at Firestone Country Club. He also has eight career wins at Bay Hill. The only other golfer to achieve eight wins at a single tournament is Sam Snead, who did so at the Greater Greensboro Open.

Woods is 41-2 when leading after three days on the PGA Tour.

The seven-stroke lead is tied for the fifth-largest of Woods' career after 54 holes.

He birdied the first two holes of the day to put the rest of the field distantly in his rear view mirror. He ended up striking three bogeys on the day, but it did nothing to dent his dominance.

Sweden's Henrik Stenson is a distance second at 8-under after shooting a 3-under 67.

American Jason dufner is third at 7-under, followed by a trio of players - Luke Donald, Bill Haas and Chris Wood - all tied for fourth at 6-under.

The best round of the day came from Spain's Miguel Jimenez, who fired a 5-under 65 to reach 5-under for the tournament. Jimenez birdied four of the last five holes.

Masters champion Adam Scott shot a 4-under 66 to reach 3-under for the tournament, tying him for ninth. British Open champion Phil Mickelson was also 3-under, which got him back to even par for the tournament and into a tie for 17th place.

Day One leader Webb Simpson continued to struggle after his opening round 64. Simpson shot a 3-over 73 to drop into a tie for 28th.

This is the last tournament before next week's PGA Championships, the final major of the season.

04/08/13, Sunday

Sevens and eights are hardly numbers one seeks to produce on a golf course, but that doesn't apply to Tiger Woods.

Woods kept his seven-stroke lead for a third consecutive day Sunday at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio, giving him his eighth title at the event, tying a PGA tour record for most titles at a single tournament - a record he previously shared with Sam Snead.

Woods shot an even-par 70 on Sunday to finish at 15-under (66-61-68-70-265) to rack up $1.5 million and make himself once again the odds-on favorite heading into a major - the PGA Championships start on Thursday.

American Keegan Bradley and Sweden's Henrik Stenson finished tied for second,each at 8-under. Only Bradley was able to put anything resembling a dent in Woods' lead on Sunday, shooting a 3-under 67, but damaging his own cause with bogeys on No. 3 and 12.

Still it was a good showing for the 2012 tournament champion.

Woods' round was fairly pedestrian: one bogey, one birdie and 16 pars - the kind of round you play when up by seven strokes.

Stenson had the exact same score card as Woods on the day, and was the only player other than the tournament champion to shoot par of lower all four days.

Ranked 16th in the world, the 16th-ranked Stenson is looking mighty intriguing entering the PGA Championships after finishing second here and at the British Open.

There was a three-way tie for fourth among Americans Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner and Spain's Miguel Jimenez.

Up one stroke after Day One, Webb Simpson made up for two bad middle rounds with a 4-under 66 on Sunday to wind up at 2-under, tied for 14th.

British Open champion Phil Mickelson was 1-over for the day and the tournament, finishing a distant 21st, one shot and six places ahead of former No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who finished at 2-over for the tournament and the day. It was another typical round for the up-and-down McIlroy, particularly the final six holes, which saw him shoot double bogey, bogey, par, birdie, birdie, bogey.
Tournament Recap

Now that Tiger Woods is back to winning tournaments on a consistent basis, the rest of us are back to being awestruck at just how much he's accomplished.

Woods' win at the WGC-Bridgestone on Sunday was his eighth at that particular event and his 79th overall. He's now just three wins behind Sam Snead for the third-most all-time, and he's reached that number 10 years younger than when Snead won his last of 82 events.

Still, in the eyes of most, all the victories won't really sink in until Woods breaks his drought of winning a major - currently at 17 - but there's precedent here. In three previous campaigns - 2000, 2006, 2007 - Woods won the PGA Championships immediately after winning at Bridgestone.

He's racked up five wins in 2013, the 10th time in his career he's reached at least that many victories. Since turning pro in 1996, Woods has won a tournament by six strokes or more 12 times. No other golfer has done the same more than twice in that time span.

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