Singh Wins Nelson Will Skip Colonial

By Golf Channel NewsroomMay 18, 2003, 4:00 pm
Vijay Singhs week started with sound and ended with possible fury.
Singh shot 4-under 66 to win the EDS Byron Nelson Classic by two shots over Nick Price (65), at 15-under-par 265, and then announced he would not be playing in the Bank of America Colonial. Singh made national headlines with his disparaging remarks concerning Annika Sorenstam's participation in the upcoming event.
''It has nothing to do with the controversy,'' Singh said. ''I've played in four straight tournaments, and I need a break.
'I have to be at (Mark) McCormack's memorial on Wednesday and I have something with my boy on Thursday. It's a good time to take off I think. The U.S. Open is around the corner.'
This past week began on an inauspicious note for 40-year-old Fijian. He created a firestorm after being quoted by The Associated Press as saying he felt Sorenstam didnt belong in the Colonial field, and that he hoped she missed the cut.
Singh tried to qualify his statements, saying he hoped she missed the cut if he did the same, and adding his remarks werent meant as a personal attack on Sorenstam. Nonetheless, his original quotes dominated national headlines. Columnists and critics across the country attacked him personally and professionally.
Yet through it all, he shot 65-65-69 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.
'The way I was playing, I didn't want anything else to bother me,' Singh said of how he handled the distractions. 'I spoke to my wife a lot and she said, 'Just go and play your game.' This is for my wife as well.'
Its the 14th time in 20 events this season that a player with at least seven career PGA Tour victories has prevailed. Its also the fourth time a player in his 40s has won this year. Singh previously accomplished that at the Phoenix Open, meaning hes now one of five players with multiple victories in 2003.
Singh collected a career-best $1,008,000 for his 13th tour title. He moves to fourth on the money list with over $2.9 million.
'This is something I've wanted to do for a long time and I've finally done it,' Singh said. 'Byron's a great man, great for golf.'
Similarly to last weeks Wachovia Championship, Price mounted an early Sunday charge. He birdied the first and then added three-in-a-row starting at the fifth. Four birdies in his opening seven holes gave him a share of the lead with Singh at 12-under.
Singh reclaimed sole possession of the top spot with a birdie at the par-5 seventh, his third birdie ' compared to one bogey ' on the day. He took that one-shot advantage into the back nine, where it evaporated in one swing.
Singh hit driver off the tee at the par-4 10th and double-crossed himself. He pulled his ball into the left trees, narrowly avoiding a water hazard. Instead of safely pitching back into the fairway, Singh flew his second shot from rough to rough. He hit a flop shot to 15 feet, but missed the par save and dropped to 12-under.
A week ago in Charlotte, N.C., rain dampened Prices front-nine momentum and he was never able to recover after a stoppage in play, eventually settling for a tie for fifth. There was no such interruption in Irving, Texas.
Price made a 10-footer for birdie at the par-4 11th to claim the outright lead. At 13-under, he was one clear of Singh and Robert Allenby. The Australian made six birdies over his first 14 holes to climb into contention; however, he parred his final four to finish at 12-under.
It came down to two men, two groups apart.
Singh hit his approach shot on the par-4 12th to two feet to again reach minus-13, but moments later Price hit a laser of his own to near gimme range on the par-4 14th to stay one clear.
Faced with a downhill 35-footer at the par-4 15th, Price raced his birdie putt eight feet past the hole. He missed the comebacker for a three-putt bogey.
'I had probably the fastest putt on the course,' Price said of his first putt.
On the other hand, Singh birdied 15 by making a 28-footer. And when Price was unable to capitalize at the par-5 16th, Singh got up and down from a greenside bunker for birdie at the same hole to take a two-shot lead at 15-under.
'I played solid golf. I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens and made one good putt, the one on 15,' said Singh. 'I wanted that one. I had a one-shot lead. I birdied 16 and cruised in after that.'
He parred his final two holes to finish on that number. Price parred his last three holes.
I knew the target was 15-under, said Price, who will try and defend his title at Colonial Country Club.
'I'm really looking forward to next week. I hope the course is fast and fiery and those greens have got some speed on them.'
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the EDS Byron Nelson Classic
  • Full coverage of the EDS Byron Nelson Classic
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