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Ailing woods wins Bay Hill

ORLANDO, Fla. — Not even a nasty bout of food poisoning could stop Tiger Woods from winning the Bay Hill Invitational for the fourth straight year.

So sick that he frequently ducked into the bushes and dropped to his knees, Woods still looked as dominant as ever Sunday with a 4-under 68 to win by 11 strokes, the fourth time in his career he has won by double digits.

Woods became the first player in 73 years to win the same tournament four years in a row, and the final margin indicates this one was the easiest of all.

That was hardly the case.

Woods, whose girlfriend collapsed Friday outside the clubhouse with food poisoning, came down with it himself after eating spaghetti on the eve of the final round.

He threw up three times during the first five holes and often stopped in his tracks and doubled over, wincing in pain. When he tapped in for par on the final hole, he had just enough strength left on a rainy afternoon to raise his right arm and salute the crowd.

Woods finished at 19-under 269 and became the first player since Gene Sarazen in the Miami Open (1926-30) to win the same event four straight times.

Brad Faxon missed a 6-foot par putt on the 18th hole that cost him $189,000. He had a 74 and dropped into a four-way tie for second with Kirk Triplett (70), Kenny Perry (71) and Stewart Cink (72).

An anticipated showdown between Woods and Ernie Els never materialized, with the South African finishing 19 strokes back after a 77 Sunday.

Arnold Palmer owns the Bay Hill Club & Lodge. Woods owns the tournament.

The 11-stroke victory was the largest margin in the 25-year history of Bay Hill, breaking by two the previous mark, set by Fred Couples in 1992.

It matched the third-largest margin in Woods' career, behind his 15-stroke victory in the 2000 U.S. Open and his 12-stroke win in the 1997 Masters. Woods also won at Firestone by 11 shots in 2000, when he could barely see the 18th green because of darkness.

Steady rain that fell throughout the day almost kept Woods from finishing this one. Large pools of water covered every fairway, but there was no point in stopping — everyone knew how this was going to turn out.

Woods improved to 28-2 when he has at least a share of the 54-hole lead, and he has won the last 16 times when leading through 36 holes.

It was clear something was wrong with Woods about 20 minutes before his tee time when he sat on his bag after taking a few practice putts. He also took a seat after his opening tee shot, a weak fade that found the first cut of rough.

Woods usually walks quickly and with purpose down the fairways. On Sunday, he was walking 40 yards behind his playing partners.