Singh Cruises to Fourth Title

By Sports NetworkOctober 26, 2003, 5:00 pm
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Vijay Singh posted a 5-under 67 on Sunday to coast to a four-shot win at the Funai Classic at the Walt Disney World Resort. Singh finished at 23-under-par 265 to assume the top spot on the PGA Tour money list with his fourth victory of the season.
'I'm really happy to take over the money list,' said Singh, who has won two of his last three events on tour. 'I'm playing the best that I can play right now. And that's a good feeling to go out there knowing that you've got a chance of winning the golf tournament every time you tee it up.'
Tiger Woods, who falls back to second in the race for the money title, fired a 7-under 65 to join Scott Verplank and Stewart Cink in a tie for second at 19-under-par 269. Woods has played in eight fewer events this year than Singh.
Singh, who has now put himself in position to end Woods' streak of money titles, was part of a four-way tie for the lead after three low-scoring rounds on the Magnolia and Palm courses at Walt Disney World Resort.
'I'm in the best position to win the money title,' said Singh. 'I'm going to go out there and try to do the best I can and have a good, strong finish.'
He played in the penultimate group off the first tee at Magnolia and found himself in a battle with Cink after both players tallied a pair of birdies each over the first six holes.
Singh grabbed the lead with a birdie at the eighth and opened a two-shot advantage with a birdie at the 10th.
He reached 23 under with a long birdie at the 12th before finding trouble with a bogey at the very next hole. Singh recovered immediately and knocked a sand- wedge inside four feet for a birdie at the 14th to take a four-shot lead over the field.
Singh dropped another shot with a bogey at the 16th but his victory was never in doubt.
The 40-year-old closed in style with a 35-footer for birdie at the last to secure this 15th career title on the PGA Tour.
'I feel like if I win the money title, I have a good chance of winning Player of the Year,' said Singh. 'But the players have to decide that. It's a matter of time to see what happens in the next two weeks.'
Woods was six shots off the pace to start the day and struggled early with a bogey at the first to fall further back but in vintage fashion, the top player in the game roared back.
He collected three birdies on the front side to make the turn at 14 under and reached the green in two for an eagle at the par-5 10th.
Woods kept cruising up the leaderboard with back-to-back birdies from the 13th and added a birdie at the 17th for his share of second.
The 27-year-old is within reach of regaining the lead in the race of the money title, but with Singh playing next week at the Chrysler Championship the Fijian seems to have the upper hand.
'If he has it wrapped up, so be it,' said Woods. 'Anybody would rather have Player of the Year than the money title.'
Cink used three birdies and two bogeys to shoot a 71 and earn his first top-10 finish since June.
'I'm disappointed because all week I played well and trying to win, and today I just couldn't seem to put it together,' said Cink. 'Second is good, but I felt like I could have played with a lot more pressure today.'
Davis Love III, who like Singh has won four times on the PGA Tour this year, posted a final-round 69 to share fifth place with John Rollins at 18-under-par 270. Michael Clark II and Bob Estes were one shot further back at 17-under-par 271.
Bob Tway, Rocco Mediate and Geoff Ogilvy tied for ninth at 16-under-par 272.
U.S. Open winner Jim Furyk shot a 65 to join Tom Carter, Brent Schwarzrock, Fred Couples and David Peoples at 15-under-par 273.
Related Links:
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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

    Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

    He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

    Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

    The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

    ''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

    Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

    ''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

    Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

    “An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

    Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

    Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.