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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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


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    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."

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    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."

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    Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 10:33 pm

    After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.

    La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.

    "Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."

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    Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.

    The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.

    "That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."