Michael Thompson's dream of winning his first PGA Tour event was walking up the final fairway with a big lead and very little stress.
The reality was much different Sunday in the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
He had a one-shot lead as he stood in the 18th fairway, some 240 yards from the flag with trouble in the way in the shape of large lake. But instead of laying up, he drilled a 5-wood into the bunker left of the green, setting up a simple sand shot and a birdie he didn't even need. He closed with a 1-under 69, one of only five rounds under par on a punishing day at PGA National.
"That for me sealed the deal," said Thompson, who won $1,080,000. "It allowed me to walk up the fairway and enjoy the experience, see the crowd and ... just finish strong."
Thompson holed a 50-foot eagle putt on the third hole, relied on a superb short game around the toughest part of the course to build a four-shot lead and held on for a two-shot win over Geoff Ogilvy (69).
And to think just two weeks ago he was so down after a 78-80 performance at Riviera Country Club that he wondered if he would ever make another cut.
"This week was magical," Thompson said.
He finished at 9-under 271, a strong performance considering the difficult course and the weekend wind. "This is everything," said Thompson, who tied for second at last year's U.S. Open at the Olympic Club. "This is a childhood dream come true."
Luke Guthrie, tied with Thompson for the 54-hole lead, fell behind with a bogey on the second hole and closed with a 73 to finish third at 275.
Erik Compton (70) was part of the five-way tie for fourth at 277. Compton, who has had two heart transplants, earned his first top-10 finish on tour.
Tiger Woods began the day eight shots behind, and whatever hopes he had of a rally ended on No. 6 when he hit his drive so far to the right that the ball was never found.
He took double bogey, and only an eagle on the par-5 18th kept the damage to a minimum. He shot a 74 and tied for 37th at 284.
"I just made too many penalties this week," Woods said. "I didn't play that poorly."
LPGA Tour: Stacy Lewis won the HSBC Women's Champions, closing with a 1-under 71 to beat Na Yeon Choi (72) by a shot. Lewis finished at 15-under 273 in Singapore. Paula Creamer held a share of the lead early in the day but struggled with her putting on the back nine and faded to a 71 to finish at 13 under.
Web.com Tour: Former UCLA star Patrick Cantlay shot a 5-under 66 and won the Colombia Championship in Bogota by four strokes at 18-under 266. At 20 years 11 months and 15 days, he's the second-youngest winner in tour history.
Wire services contributed to this report.