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Still Streakin'
ALAN SHIPNUCK
February 05, 2007
A seventh straight win puts Tiger Woods a step closer to the Tour's most hallowed record
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February 05, 2007

Still Streakin'

A seventh straight win puts Tiger Woods a step closer to the Tour's most hallowed record

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Howell could only shake his head at the inevitability of the eagle, which pushed Woods into a tie for the lead. "You just knew that [putt] was going in," he said afterward. "He hit way too good a three-wood in there, and we laughed about it the whole way up the fairway. He's getting old, but he can still fly that three-wood 280."

Woods took sole possession of the lead when Buckle and Quinney made ugly double bogeys within minutes of each other early in Woods's back nine. Howell made a game of it by birdieing six of 10 holes in the middle of the round to creep within one of Woods's lead, but Tiger held him off with the help of a brilliant 65-foot lag putt on 14 to an inch for a birdie (Big Play, page G19), then ended any suspense by stuffing his approach on 17 to take a two-shot cushion into the final hole.

After tidying up his six-under 66--the low round of the week on Torrey's fearsome South course--Woods enjoyed a hug-a-thon behind the final green. His mom, Tida, got the first squeeze, of course. Woods also had a hug for his wife, Elin, who had a little bump barely visible under her long black sweater. Poignantly, Woods also received a hearty embrace from his father-in-law, Thomas Nordegren. When Woods won the Buick last year, his father, Earl, was 90 miles up I-5, at home in Cypress in the final months of his battle with cancer. The loss of Pops, in May, defined Woods's season as much as the winning streak that followed.

Comparing the state of his game with that of this time last year, Woods says, "It's a lot better. I've refined my misses. I have a better understanding of how to play the game. Off the course things have turned around 180 degrees. Last year I didn't want to practice because I knew my dad didn't have that long to live. I didn't want to be out there, I wanted to be home with him. Now I'm able to practice harder and prepare better."

That's bad news for the Charles Howells of the world but good news for streak lovers everywhere.

? Read more about the Buick Invitational at SI.com/golf.

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