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Woods survives to win NEC

The Associated Press

AKRON - Tiger Woods overcame some shaky putting Sunday by making the one that mattered.

Woods rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt that broke sharply into the right side of the cup, then escaped with par from the trees on the 18th hole for a 1-under 71 and a one-shot victory over Chris DiMarco in the NEC Invitational.

Woods made it seven consecutive years with at least one World Golf Championship title since the series began in 1999, and he has won nine of the 18 events he has played.

Despite his dominance at Firestone - four victories in six years - this one required the most work.

Woods missed five putts inside 8 feet and trailed Kenny Perry by two shots when they made the turn. His birdie putt on the 16th hole came after he hit into the trees and had to pitch out to 189 yards away, with water guarding the flag. And he avoided a playoff by pitching low through the branches to 20 feet on the final hole.

''Let's just say I've had better days,'' Woods said with a smile when asked about his putting.