Toms at his best on tough Quail Hollow track
When you can make a quadruple bogey on the 72nd hole and still walk away with a two-stroke victory, you know you've had a great week.
David Toms did just that Sunday in winning the inaugural Wachovia Championship. It was a fluky finish to an otherwise spectacular showing on a course that played U.S. Open-tough.
Some facts and figures from Toms' week:
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Quail Hollow Club (7,396 yards, par 72)
1 David Toms (-10)
T2 Vijay Singh
T2 Brent Geiberger
T2 Robert Gamez
T5 Nick Price
T5 Kirk Triplett
The victory is the first for Toms since his breakout season in 2001, when he won three events, including the PGA Championship. In the 41 tournaments between titles, Toms had 16 top-10 finishes, including 12 in 2002, when he was fourth on the money list. But he has struggled some in 2003, with just one top-10 and a runner-up finish at the Match Play in 11 events before this week.
Despite the early-season slump, Toms was 23rd on the money list before the Wachovia (he's sixth now) and eighth in the World Ranking. His dominant performance at Quail Hollow has to at least bring him into the conversation when identifying the top players on the PGA Tour.
Maybe. Maybe not. Better save that question for after the U.S. Open next month.
1. It's too bad Woods skipped the Wachovia Championship this week, he missed a great opportunity to prepare for the U.S. Open.
The first event at Quail Hollow since 1979 drew rave reviews, many players going so far as to say the revamped track deserved consideration for a future U.S. Open. Here's why the USGA should give it a look:
After a front-nine meltdown that included a double bogey and a whiffed tap-in that resulted in a triple bogey three holes later, Irwin recovered with four birdies on the back nine to force a playoff with Tom Watson. By birdieing the second extra hole, Irwin became the 11th Champions Tour winner in 11 events in 2003.
Irwin, who leads the money list for the first time this year, had a similar gaffe on a tap-in putt in the 1983 British Open, where, ironically, he lost to Watson by a stroke.
''I guess he got me back today,'' Watson said.
For Sorenstam, who in two weeks will become the first woman since 1945 to compete in a PGA Tour event, it was her second win of the season in six worldwide events.
Meanwhile, on the LPGA Tour, Rosie Jones ended the Americans' title drought with a three-stroke victory at the Asahi Ryokuken International. Prior to Jones' win, the last American player to take home top honors was Meg Mallon last August.
Fellow American Wendy Ward finished second, and Mexican phenom Lorena Ochoa, 22, tied for third. It was the rookie's fourth top-10 finish in seven events.
Remarkably, since last year's upset of the Americans, each of the 12 members of that squad has fallen in the World Ranking. This week, though, seven of the 10 in the field made the cut, led by Padraig Harrington, who finished second.
5. After being elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame earlier in the week, Nick Price proved there was still some game left in those old bones, particularly on the greens.
Price needed just 20 putts in a Thursday 66, sharing the first-round lead with Fred Couples. His flat stick wasn't as hot the rest of the week, but he still led the field in putts per round.
Price made a run at Toms' lead early on Sunday, going out in 4-under 32. But after a rain delay he struggled coming home, making four bogeys en route to a back-nine 38. He finished tied for fifth, his third top-10 of the year.
Up next ...
PGA Tour: EDS Byron Nelson Championship
Mike Weir is likely to withdraw from the event, further watering down an unusually weak field that will also be without Woods, Els and Love. Phil Mickelson will be the top-ranked player in Irving, Texas, at No. 4.
European tour: Deutsche Bank-SAP Open
Woods returns after four weeks off to defend his title in Germany. The field also includes Retief Goosen, Harrington and Montgomerie. Els pulled out of the event after reinjuring his wrist.
Champions Tour: Bayer Advantage Celebrity Pro-Am
Irwin and Watson head the entrants for this first-year event in Kansas City, Mo. The celebrity portion of the field will include Suzy Whaley and local favorites George Brett and Marty Schottenheimer.
Nationwide Tour: Virginia Beach Open
After a week off, the Nationwide Tour gets back to business in Virginia Beach.
David Lefort is ESPN.com's golf editor, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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