Singh wins second consecutive Playoffs event

By Associated PressSeptember 1, 2008, 4:00 pm
DeutscheBank Logo 2007NORTON, Mass. ' Vijay Singh kept pouring in birdie putts, 35 feet on one hole and 60 feet on the next, as cheers turned from disbelief to sheer amazement.
 
That might be the last bit of excitement for this edition of the FedExCup.
 
Despite a volatile new points system designed to give more players a chance, Singh took the suspense out of the PGA TOUR Playoffs with an 8-under 63 on Monday to win the Deutsche Bank Championship in record fashion. It was his second consecutive victory, giving him such a large lead that he could wrap up the $10 million prize before the TOUR Championship.
 
Vijay Singh
Vijay Singh recorded his second career victory in this event. (Getty Images)
Right now, my focus is going to be next week, and see if I can wrap it up, Singh said.
 
A year ago, Tiger Woods drained the drama from the postseason by tying for second at the TPC Boston, then winning the final two events.
 
Singh has been even more impressive.
 
He won The Barclays in a three-man playoff last week, convincing himself that he was the best putter in golf. He made even more believers on a gorgeous Labor Day south of Boston, making birdie putts of 35 feet, 60 feet and 35 feet on the back nine to turn this into a runaway.
 
He played amazing. It was awesome, said Sergio Garcia, who was paired with Singh and closed with a 72. I dont think you guys are going to realize how good that was, because youre arent playing and you dont know how tough the course was playing. When Vijay plays like that, its hard to beat him.
 
Tour officials said any of 24 players still have a mathematical chance ' assuming Singh finishes last in the final two tournaments, and some of those guys win both events.
 
Dont count on it.
 
Hes back to form, Ernie Els said. Hes such a great player when he gets on form. Hes playing really good golf, hes got some confidence going. Hes going to be a dangerous guy.
 
And a richer guy, at that.
 
Singh set tournament records with a five-shot victory over Mike Weir (71) finishing at 22-under 262, breaking by two shots the record set by Adam Scott in 2003. He collected $1.26 million, enough to finally replace Woods atop the money list at over $6.4 million. Woods has not played since season-ending surgery after the U.S. Open.
 
Singh won for the third time in five weeks, and it should move him to No. 3 in the world ranking.
 
Attribute this to the power of positive thinking.
 
Singh, who has long struggled with the putter, convinced himself last week to stop reading negative comments and consider himself as good as anyone with the flat stick.
 
He has heard his share of psycho-babble, but realized the most important message came from within.
 
Whatever they can tell me, it works briefly, he said. But it has to come from inside me, and that was the biggest thing. I arrived last week at Ridgewood with a great attitude on the putting green and just kind of felt like I belonged on the greens. That was the biggest thing.
 
Another test came on the 14th.
 
Singh took the lead when Weir made double bogey on the ninth, then the 45-year-old Fijian made an 8-foot birdie on the 11th to build his lead to two, and stretched it with a 35-footer on the 13th.
 
He pulled his 9-iron approach to the 14th, however, leaving him 60 feet away. Thats the kind of putt he usually hopes he can lag close enough for an easy par. But not this time.
 
Once on the green, he kept telling caddie Chad Reynolds, Im the best putter in the world.
 
And he said, Youre damn right you are, now go ahead and knock it in, Singh said. And I made it. Instead of standing there and hoping youre going to get up-and-down in two, I was trying to make those putts.
 
Weir dropped to 1-9 on the PGA TOUR when he has at least a share of the 54-hole lead, unable to contend with big hitters on a blustery day. Even so, he moved up to No. 3 in the standings behind Singh and Garcia.
 
Els flew too many greens and made too many bogeys to make a charge, closing with a 70 to tie for third with Camilo Villegas, who shot a 73.
 
This was the final tournament before U.S. captain Paul Azinger makes four picks to fill out his Ryder Cup team, and his job didnt get any easier.
 
The top American was Tim Herron, who shot 65 and tied for fifth with Garcia at 13-under 271. It was the first top 10 for Herron all year. Chad Campbell made a late push with a 69-66 weekend in the toughest conditions of the tournament to tie for seventh with Justin Leonard (67) and Jim Furyk (72), who already have qualified.
 
Azinger was to announce his picks Tuesday morning in New York.
 
Too bad he cant claim Singh, a good friend, as an American.
 
Singh has a 12,225-point lead over Garcia. That means Singh is assured of having the lead going into the TOUR Championship, and another top finish might be enough to wrap up the title if none of the guys immediately behind him win in St. Louis next week.
 
Im going to go out and play really hard, Singh said. If I have another win, it will be icing on the cake. But I dont take anything for granted.
 
Herrons biggest week allowed him to keep playing. The top 70 in the FedExCup standings advance to the third round of the playoffs in St. Louis this week at the BMW Championship. Herron started the week at No. 99, but his tie for fifth moved him all the way up to No. 48.
 
Former U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera shot a 71 and claimed the 70th spot by 121 points over Pat Perez. Among those who failed to advance was Sean OHair, who was 16th when the playoffs began but missed two cuts and fell to No. 75.
 
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    Goal for new world No. 1 Koepka: Stay healthy

    By Will GrayOctober 21, 2018, 1:38 pm

    Last season Brooks Koepka bagged a pair of majors en route to the PGA Tour's Player of the Year award. He started the new wraparound season with an emphatic win at the CJ Cup to reach world No. 1 for the first time.

    But amid the best form of his career, Koepka has a simple goal in mind as he gets ready to turn his attention to the new year.

    "Stay healthy," Koepka told reporters. "That's been the big thing. I need to be healthy to be able to play all these events, play all the majors."

    Koepka's breakthrough year comes despite the fact that he missed four months in the spring, including the Masters, while recovering from a wrist injury. He hit the ground running once he returned, with strong finishes at TPC Sawgrass and Colonial preceding wins at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship.

    Now Koepka has added a third trophy after cruising to a four-shot win in South Korea on Sunday that allowed him to move past Dustin Johnson at world No. 1.

    "I'm 1-for-1 this year, which is nice," Koepka joked about his undefeated record in the new wraparound season.

    Koepka will be in the field next week in China for the WGC-HSBC Champions before putting the clubs on the shelf. With Justin Thomas paving the way by making the goal-setting process more public in recent years, Koepka explained that even after summiting the world rankings he plans to wait until 2019 to adjust his expectations for himself.

    "I keep the same goals through the calendar year," Koepka said. "On Jan. 1 I go to the beach in the morning and go write down my goals and figure them out for the calendar year, but I just need to finish this year off. I've got next week and I would like to, coming out the first week as No. 1, I'd like to play well."

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    Birdie binge for Woodland comes up short at CJ Cup

    By Will GrayOctober 21, 2018, 12:52 pm

    Gary Woodland mounted an impressive rally at the CJ Cup, but in the end even 11 birdies weren't enough to catch Brooks Koepka.

    Woodland started the final round in South Korea five shots behind the new world No. 1, but he made the biggest move of the day amid chilly conditions on Jeju Island. With six birdies over his first nine holes, including four in a row on Nos. 6-9, he briefly caught Koepka at the top of the leaderboard.

    But Woodland bogeyed No. 10, and even with five more birdies coming home to finish a 9-under 63 he still finished alone in second, four shots behind Koepka who closed with a bogey-free 29 to put the trophy out of reach.

    "Yesterday I didn't get any putts to go in, and today I saw a lot of putts go in," Woodland told reporters. "Brooks with the lead, not much fazes him. So you knew you had to make a lot of birdies, and I made a lot today. But I was just too far behind."

    It's the second straight strong performance from Woodland to start the new wraparound season, as he tied for fifth at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia after holding a share of the 54-hole lead. A closing 63 would have gone a long way last week, but he was still pleased to be able to make Koepka sweat a little on a day when even the bad holes resulted from good shots.

    "I made two bogeys on the back and I said, 'Be right' on both shots," Woodland said. "I was just maybe a little too amped up, a little excited. I hit them both perfect. All in all, I would have liked for a couple more putts to go in yesterday and been a little closer going into today."

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    Kang (69) wins Buick LPGA Shanghai by two

    By Associated PressOctober 21, 2018, 9:11 am

    SHANGHAI - Danielle Kang shot a 3-under 69 on Sunday to win the LPGA Shanghai by two strokes for her second career title.

    Kang, who started the final round one stroke off the lead, offset a lone bogey on the par-5 fourth hole with four birdies after the turn to finish at 13-under 275 and hold off a late charge by Lydia Ko, who had the day's lowest score of 66.

    ''I hope I win more,'' Kang said. ''I did the best I can. I'm going to keep working hard and keep giving myself chances and keep putting myself in contention. I'll win more. I'll play better.''

    Ko, who had seven birdies and a lone bogey, tied for second at 11 under with a group of seven players that included Brittany Altomare (71), Ariya Jutanugarn (71) and overnight co-leader Sei Young Kim (72).


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    Carlota Ciganda, who also held a share of the lead after the third round, shot a 73 to fall into a tie for ninth with Bronte Law and local favorite Lu Liu.

    Paula Creamer carded three birdies against a pair of bogeys for a 71 to finish in sole possession of 12th place.

    The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

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    New world No. 1 Koepka already wants more

    By Nick MentaOctober 21, 2018, 8:48 am

    If there is a knock on Brooks Koepka, it’s that he’s a little too cool.

    Gary Woodland, who threw 11 birdies at Koepka on Sunday and still finished four shots back, inadvertently captured that exact sentiment after Saturday's third round.

    “You know," he said, "Brooks doesn't seem like he cares too much."

    In context, Woodland meant that there was little anyone in the field could do to rattle the 54-hole leader. (He proved himself right, by the way.)

    And out of context, the comment speaks to the general narrative surrounding Koepka. That he’s just detached enough for fans to have trouble attaching themselves to him. That he’s just a jock here to cash checks and collect trophies, to kick ass and chew bubblegum.

    But for a few moments Sunday in South Korea, it became clear that Brooks Koepka does care. Crouched on the 72nd green with some time to stop and think as Ian Poulter lagged a bit behind, Koepka finally let a moment get to him. Cameras caught the three-time major champion appearing unusually emotional.

    Of course, less than a minute later, those same cameras caught him yawning. The contrast was almost too perfect. It was as if he knew he had just been found out and needed to snap back into character – which he did.

    He promptly poured in an eagle putt to cap off a final-round 64, to win the CJ Cup by four, and to ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his career.


    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

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    “To be world No. 1 is something I dreamed of as a kid,” Koepka said on the 18th green, moments after closing out his fifth PGA Tour victory and third this year. “I don't think this one's going to sink in.”

    What is beginning to sink in is that Koepka now unequivocally belongs in the conversation, the one golf fans and analysts have been having over and over since Tiger Woods fell from golf's greatest heights.

    Who’s the best at their best?

    In the two years between his first PGA Tour win and his first U.S. Open victory, Koepka was touted as having the kind of talent to compete with the game's elites. It took a little while for him to get here, but Koepka has taken over as the latest player to look like he’ll never lose again. Just as it was for Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas before him, this is Koepka's moment. This is his run of dominance.

    It’s a run that will have to end at some point. Every one of the guys just mentioned did cool off eventually. Koepka will, too. Maybe it will be fatigue, maybe it will be injury, and maybe it’ll just be golf. This talent pool is simply too deep for anyone to remain on top for too long.

    But what Koepka has done this year – in defending his U.S. Open title, in staring down Tiger at the PGA, in claiming the Player of the Year Award, in ascending to the top of the world rankings – is put his name at the forefront of the conversation. If he was unappreciated at times before, those days are behind him. He's already accomplished too much, proven himself too good to be overlooked any longer.

    And he’s far from done.

    “For me, I just need to keep winning,” the new world No. 1 said Sunday. “I feel like to win a few more regular Tour events and then keep adding majors. I feel like my game's set up for that. I've gotten so much confidence off winning those majors where, it's incredible, every time I tee it up, I feel like I really have a good chance to win whether I have my A-game or not. It's something I'm so excited [about] right now, you have no idea. I just can't wait to go play again.”