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GARCIA wins again on PGA Tour

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HARRISON, N.Y. (AP) _ Sergio Garcia, starting to establish his credentials as a serious rival to Tiger Woods, shot a nearly flawless 4-under-par 67 Monday to win the rain-delayed Buick Classic by three strokes.

It was 21-year-old Spaniard's second PGA Tour victory in five weeks. He won the Colonial in May.

Woods, meanwhile, was never a factor in the final two rounds and finished 12 shots back of Garcia in a tie for 16th. He said after his final round he was golfed out and was going fishing.

Garcia, steady off the tee and nearly always around the cup with his putts, finished with a Buick Classic-tying total of 16-under 268.

Scott Hoch, who shot 68 Monday while playing in the same threesome as Garcia, was alone in second at 271. Billy Andrade, Stewart Cink and J.P. Hayes were two strokes behind Hoch at 273.

Garcia's improving play gives hope to those looking for one of golf's young lions to emerge as a consistent, serious competitor for Woods. In addition to his two tour victories, Garcia also stayed near the lead of last week's U.S. Open before fading with a final-round 77.

He said the focus on Woods and talks of a Garcia-Woods rivalry ``disrespects'' all the other golfers on the PGA Tour.

But Garcia also said he wants to be the best player in the world, a perch now occupied by Woods.

``I think I'm getting closer and closer,'' Garcia said Monday, although to supplant Woods he said he'd have to start winning every other week on the PGA Tour.

Hoch started the day at 10 under, two behind Garcia, and briefly caught the leader at 12 under with birdies on the fourth and fifth holes. But Garcia took the lead back with a birdie on the 326-yard, par-4 seventh after nearly driving the green, and held it the rest of the way.

Both Hoch and Garcia made birdies on the 10th, another short par-4, and Garcia took a two-shot lead on the 13th after hitting a 9-iron from the fairway within a foot of the cup.

Hoch, meantime, was steadily making pars at a time he needed birdies. He made eight straight pars on the back nine, usually putting from 15 feet or more, and could never put any real pressure on Garcia.

Trying for an eagle or better on the par-5 final hole, Hoch went for the green on his second shot. He missed to the right and made par from the rough.

Garcia, meantime, reached the green in two with an iron and two-putted for a birdie he didn't need.

``Today it could have been so low,'' Garcia said. ``I played so well today.''

This was Hoch's seventh top-10 finish of the year and it pushed his season earnings past $1.8 million, a career best.

``I didn't have my `A' game, as Tiger would say,'' Hoch said. ``I didn't even have his `C' game. ... I never could put the pressure on (Garcia).''

Woods, who needed a second-round 66 just to make the cut after an opening-round 75, started the day eight shots behind Garcia and immediately bogeyed Nos. 1 and 2 to end any chance of a comeback.

He had two other bogeys and four birdies to finish the day where he started, at 4 under.

``You can't play good every week, but what you can do is try,'' Woods said. ``I tried on every shot. It really wasn't there. There's not more I can do about that. I know my mechanics are a little bit off. ... It puts a huge strain on you when you have to rely on feel because your mechanics aren't where they need to be.''

Woods said he would probably play once more before the British Open, at the Western Open on July 5-8. Woods added he was going to pick up a fishing rod and put away his clubs for a while.

``Nothing's the matter, I just don't want to play,'' he said. ``I just need a little time off.''

The final round of the Buick Classic was pushed back to Monday because of rain, which interrupted the first round and postponed the third.
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