Tiger gets back on winning trail

Tiger Woods produced some of the old magic to match Jack Nicklaus’ career tally of 73 PGA Tour wins with his fifth victory at the Memorial Tournament last night.

The final-day surge up the field, the red shirt, the steely-eyed determination to finish the job — and a defining shot, and celebration, as he holed out from off the 16th green for birdie.

Flopping the ball out of a difficult lie onto the near edge of the putting surface, Woods watched the ball roll dead weight into the right edge of the hole.

His fist-pumping roar of delight rolled back the years, and was soon followed by a calm raise of the club after a birdie putt on 18 which he knew had taken him out of reach of the chasing Rory Sabbatini, who finished two shots back, and Andres Romero.

lIn Europe, Ryder Cup player Ross Fisher left Celtic Manor in angry mood last night after being given a one-shot penalty and a £6,000 fine for slow play when only one off the lead at the ISPS Handa Wales Open.

“I don’t think it’s justice, but there you go,” said Fisher, who after being told about the punishment with four holes to play fell away to joint sixth place.

Thailand’s 42-year-old Thongchai Jaidee was the tournament winner, a bogey six at the last leaving him one in front of Dane Thomas Bjorn, South African Richard Sterne, Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Dutchman Joost Luiten.

Although it is only 10 months since the European Tour last handed out a stroke penalty, it is thought to be decades since someone in the final group on the final day had action taken against them for slow play.

The most famous incident came in the 1981 PGA Championship at Ganton when Nick Faldo, Greg Norman and Ken Brown were all fined — winner Faldo and Norman the princely sum of £50 and Brown £150.

Fisher was not the only player in trouble with the European Tour at the Wales Open. James Morrison faces a fine for comments made on Twitter.

After his third round Morrison said: “Thanks Celtic Manor. Dump. One more round then can’t get over that bridge quick enough.”

He apologised after finishing the tournament in 57th place yesterday, saying: “Celtic Manor do a great job for our Tour and have a great venue. Sorry to all involved.”

* Des Smyth says he is expecting a big result soon after a superb six under par round of 65 earned him a tied seventh place finish in the Benahavis Senior Masters, where Gary Wolstenholme claimed his second European Senior Tour victory in the space of three weeks.

Philip Walton finished five shots further back in tied 23rd place thanks to a second successive two under par round of 69 while Denis O’Sullivan finished tied 27th on three under par for the tournament after a level par final round of 71.

Wolstenholme, meanwhile, claimed his third Senior Tour win with a five under par final round of 66.

* Ballymena teenager Dermot McElroy warmed up for his assault on the British Amateur Championship at Troon later this month with an encouraging display in the Scottish Open Amateur Championship at Kilmarnock (Barassie) at the weekend.

After a 74 on Friday McElroy, a member of the Great Britain and Ireland squad, needed to step up a gear to make certain of surviving the halfway cut — and this he did with a splendid 72, his best round of the tournament.

Having edged into the final 41 who made it through to yesterday McElroy, who will be 19 next week, moved up several places with rounds of 75 and 73 in tricky conditions.

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