** Retransmission For Alternate Crop ** Tim Clark of South Africa kisses The Players Championship trophy Sunday, May 9, 2010, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Clark won with 16 under 272. (AP Photo/ Chris O'Meara)
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - No longer included in discussions about the best golfers without a PGA Tour title, Tim Clark used a 5-under 67 score to propel himself up the leaderboard and capture the win at The Players Championship.
The South African is the sixth international winner at the tournament in the past nine years.
After starting the tournament with rounds of 68 and 71, Clark shot a 6-under 66 in the third round to move into contention. He started the final round in sixth place and then took advantage of the failure of golfers ahead of him to make any big moves. Clark finished with a 16-under 272, edging out Robert Allenby by one stroke.
Third-round leader Lee Westwood was two strokes down with Clark in the clubhouse, but the Brit knocked his tee shot into the water on the tricky 17th hole and lost his shot at the title. That double bogey dropped him to 12 under for the tournament and left him with a 2-over 74 in the final round.
Birdies on the 14th and 16th holes left Allenby one stroke out of first place, but he settled for pars on each of the final holes. His birdie putt to tie on the 17th hole rolled up to the rim of the cup but didn't fall in.
Phil Mickelson couldn't maintain the momentum he claimed with a third-round 66, shooting a 2-over 74 in the final round. Mickelson could have taken over the No. 1 ranking with a win but came up short.
The day's first big excitement came early on when Tiger Woods pulled out of the tournament after grimacing while hitting his tee shot on the seventh hole.
"I might have a bulging disk," Woods said.
It was Woods' first withdrawal from a tournament since the Nissan Open at Riviera in 2006, when he narrowly made the cut and withdrew from the final two rounds because of the flu. He also withdrew from the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills as a 19-year-old amateur because of a wrist injury from hitting out of deep rough.
"I've been playing through it," Woods said of pain he first felt before the Masters. "I can't play through it anymore."
At the time he stopped his final round play, Woods was at 2-over par through six holes. He had started the day 10 shots out of the lead.