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Monday, August 21, 2006. 9:07am AEST
Tiger Woods, ice-cool throughout the final round, cruised to his 12th career major with a five-shot victory in the 88th PGA Championship at Medinah Country Club in Illinois this morning.
Tied for the overnight lead with playing partner Luke Donald of Britain, the American world number one fired a 4-under-par 68 in low-scoring conditions to lift the prized Wanamaker Trophy for the third time.
Woods, who also won the year's final major in 1999 and 2000, rattled up five birdies and a solitary bogey at the par-three 17th in bright afternoon sunshine before finishing at 18-under-par 270.
After his final putt dropped he gave a double fist pump to celebrate moving past fellow American Walter Hagen into outright second place in the all-time major standings with only Jack Nicklaus, on 18, ahead of him.
His 72-hole aggregate matched the lowest in the tournament's history, tying the 18-under total of 270 set jointly by Woods and fellow American Bob May at Valhalla in 2000.
Donald, bidding to become the PGA Championship's first European-born winner in 76 years, had to settle for a share of third place at 12-under after closing with a 74.
Level with the Englishman were Australia's Adam Scott, who fired a seven-birdie 67, and Spaniard Sergio Garcia, after a 70.
Scott's compatriot, US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, had been within three shots of Woods heading into the final round but slumped to a 2-over 74 for a total of 9-under.
"I didn't feel as comfortable as I may have looked but I had one of those days I felt like I could make anything on the greens today," Woods said.
"This is really sweet, starting out the day it could have gone any way, I knew I would have to make a bunch of birdies and I just tried to hang in there."
American Shaun Micheel, winner of the 2003 PGA Championship at Oak Hill, secured second place at 13-under, despite bogeying the last for a 69.
Woods, who claimed last month's British Open at Hoylake, has a perfect record of 12 victories after leading or holding a share of the lead going into the final round of a major championship.
Any speculation the game's leading player might be reeled in on the final day at Medinah effectively ended when he immediately broke clear by rolling in a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-four first.
He picked up his second shot after reaching the green in two at the 537-yard fifth, coolly sank a 35-footer at the par-four sixth and holed a downhill 30-footer to birdie the par-three eighth.
After reaching the turn four strokes ahead of the chasing pack at 18-under, Woods picked up his fifth shot of the day at the par-four 11th after hitting a brilliant approach shot from the right rough to within 10 feet of the flag.
Oozing confidence, he dropped his only shot of the round after finding thick rough behind the green at the 197-yard 17th.
After missing a downhill 10-footer to save par, he split the fairway at the last, safely reached the green with his second shot and savoured warm-hearted applause from the packed galleries before two-putting for a 68.