Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy came up just short in their bids to win different events on Sunday but will continue their Asian swing when they face each other in a head-to-head exhibition in China on Monday. Suzann Pettersen, meanwhile, notched her second straight LPGA Tour victory as she left Inbee Park and Yani Tseng in her dust in Taiwan.
Woods’ final-round 9-under 63 in the CIMB Classic in Malaysia was not enough to catch Nick Watney, who needed a birdie on the 18th to fire the magical score of 59. He ended up with a bogey but still carded a 61 to record a 22-under win and defeat Robert Garrigus and Bo Van Pelt by one shot in what will be an official PGA Tour contest next season.
Woods finished in fourth, two shots back of Watney, and was looking forward to meeting up again with McIlroy, with whom he has spent a great deal of time inside the ropes of late.
“We'll both probably be a little bit tired,” Woods told reporters about the world’s two best male players heading to Lake Jinsha International Golf Club for their one-day showdown after both put up four rounds in the 60s in their respective Asian bouts. “But we're going to try and put on a good show, shoot a low round and have a little bit of fun.”
McIlroy, who put on a late charge at the BMW Masters in Shanghai but lost by one shot to Peter Hanson (21-under to 20-under), concurred.
“I got an exhibition with Tiger tomorrow so it should be good fun,” said McIlroy, who showed up just long enough to cash his check when Woods crushed his would-be heir apparent in a meaningless money grab in Turkey. “We’ll have a lot of fun there for sure. It should be an enjoyable day and quite exciting too.”
Meanwhile, in Taiwan, Pettersen carded a final-round 3-under 69 to pick up her second win in as many weeks. Pettersen needed three playoff holes last week in South Korea, but took charge down the stretch on Sunday to overcome her playing partners, Park and Tseng, and come from behind for her 10th career tour win.
“I don't think I've enjoyed myself so much on the golf course like I have the last three or four weeks, so I think that might be a huge part of it,” said the 31-year-old Norwegian, who closed the event at 19-under -- three and four shots better than Park and Tseng, respectively. “Really playing with my heart, playing with my instinct, even on the last shot. Just being aggressive.”
Tseng was disappointed not to defend her LPGA Taiwan Championship title on home turf but the women's world No. 1 was pleased with the progress she was making after a months-long swoon. It was the second straight top-3 finish for Tseng, who had not had consecutive top-5 outcomes since March.
“I know I didn't finish where I wanted to, but it's getting better and I think it's getting better slowly, so I'm very happy what I play right now,” said Tseng. “I always have something that I can improve on like every day, so I'm very happy to see my game right now and feel very confident and going to play Japan next week, so hopefully I'll have a good week, too.”