Healthy for the first time in years, Notah Begay III finally was on the winning side in his signature charity event, and it felt so very good.
''Five years! Finally! Great!'' Begay said Wednesday after teaming with Tiger Woods to shoot 9 under. ''I had to get on my partner. He was getting a little lackadaisical out there.''
Woods and Begay, longtime friends and former college roommates at Stanford, helped lead the American side to victory in the NB3 Foundation Challenge at Turning Stone Resort's Atunyote Golf Club.
The 12-player field was split into two teams, with Woods and Begay serving on a West squad that also included PGA Tour players Rickie Fowler and Gary Woodland and LPGA Tour players Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson.
Woods and Begay took on K.J. Choi and Y.E. Yang in one of three stroke-play matches that were billed as an ''East Meets West'' challenge involving Asian and American players. The other pairings had Woodland and Kerr against Danny Lee and Se Ri Pak, and Fowler and Thompson playing against Charlie Wi and Yani Tseng.
Woods and Begay beat Choi and Yang 9-7, Woodland and Kerr beat Lee and Pak 8-7, and Tseng and Wi tied Fowler and Thompson 7-7, giving the Americans a 2.5 to 0.5 victory.
The winning team shared $450,000, and Woods presented Begay a check for $500,000 for his foundation. Begay has raised well over $3 million for his foundation, which is dedicated to helping fight obesity and diabetes in the Native American community.
Plagued by back problems that have relegated him to playing only a few PGA Tour events and spending time in the broadcast booth, Begay shone on a bright, sunny day with a slight breeze, carding five birdies to four for Woods.
Before they teed off, Begay turned to Woods and said: ''We want to win, right?'' Woods shrugged, then went out and birdied the opening hole, his short putt catching the lip of the cup and dropping softly to match Yang's birdie.