Sixty-four players, 108 holes of golf, just one winner. David Toms continued his golf clinic throughout the finals of the Accenture WGC Match Play Finals today. Toms posted a 6 and 5 victory over Chris DiMarco, and may have displayed some of the best ball striking the PGA Tour has ever seen. In the consolation match, Retief Goosen and Ian Poulter exchanged birdies back and forth until Goosen finally won on the second playoff hole.
The field was finally trimmed to two players. Although it wasn't the matchup many wanted, there was no shortage of great golf to be seen today. A total of 36 holes would decide the winner, which should provide more than enough time to sort out the true champion. Just how did Toms manage to severely trounce a player of DiMarco's caliber?
The match began equitably enough. The players halved the first two holes, until DiMarco jumped ahead with a birdie on the par-5 3rd hole. Toms quickly squared the match again on the 4th with a birdie of his own. After the first turn, the two were all square, and that's when Toms caught fire again. The back nine saw Toms tear apart La Costa, holing seven birdies (including an eagle on the 14th) to win seven holes. Thankfully, DiMarco managed to birdie the par-5 18th to reduce the margin to six going into the second 18 holes.
Toms refused to let up, carding pars and methodically moving from fairway to green hole after hole. Toms put the final nails in DiMarco's coffin with birdies on 6 and 7. Add a DiMarco Bogey on the 8th which allowed Toms to go 9-up with 10 to play. While things looked very bleak, DiMarco refused to quit. DiMarco took advantage of Toms's slightly more conservative play to card three quick birdies and reduce the deficit down to 6. However, it was too little too late for DiMarco. Toms sunk an 11-foot putt for birdie on the 13th to seal the win and $1.3 million in prize money.
Toms's incredible display of ball striking throughout the last two rounds amazed golf fans and Tour veterans alike. Toms himself remarked, "I never felt so comfortable on the course. When Tiger played his best golf and the way he made birdies and dominated fields and made it look easy at times, I guess maybe that's what it feels like. I could certainly get used to that."
The Match Play Championships is the 11th win of Toms's career, and has vaulted him in the World Rankings from 16th to 9th. This is also marks the third season in a row in which Toms has won a PGA Tour event. It will be interesting to see if Toms can maintain this torrid streak next week at Doral. Certainly, when people consider some of the greatest rounds of all time, Toms's victory at the Match Play Championships will enter the discussion.