(CNN) — Tiger Woods won his first golf tournament in more than two years, narrowly defeating fellow American Zach Johnson to capture the Chevron World Challenge title Sunday.
Woods finished three strokes under par for the day, allowing him to leapfrog Johnson for the one-stroke win at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California, according to the PGA Tour’s website.
The victory was the 35-year-old golfer’s first since capturing the Australian Masters title in November 2009.
“It feels awesome,” said Woods on his official website, tigerwoods.com. “It was a lot of fun coming down the stretch.”
The five-time winner was one stroke behind Johnson going up the 17th, before he birdied the final two holes — including a 16-foot putt at 17 — to clinch the title.
“If I don’t make that putt it’s in Zach’s control,” Woods said. “That putt was huge.”
Despite the disappointing finish, Johnson was quick to pay tribute to his rival.
“He made two great putts,” he said, in quotes carried by tigerwoods.com. “You just tip your hat. I’m proud of how I handled the situation and continued to fight.”
There were 18 players total in the Chevron field, far fewer than in more traditional tournaments. Even so, the PGA Tour website noted that Woods moved up 20 spots in the Official World Golf Ranking with the win.
Woods had reigned as golf’s No. 1 for a record 623 weeks between 1997 and 2010, until his career stalled amid a slew of injuries and well-publicized reports of affairs that led to the end of his marriage.
In October, he dropped out of the world’s top 50 for the first time in 15 years.
The PGA Tour’s 2012 “regular season” schedule officially begins the first week in January at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, Hawaii. In April, Woods likely will be among those battling in the season’s first major, The Masters, which he has won four times.