Perry Tops Singh to Win Bay Hill

By Sports NetworkMarch 20, 2005, 5:00 pm
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Kenny Perry won the Bay Hill Invitational on Sunday thanks to an errant approach by Vijay Singh that found the water on the 72nd hole.
Singh erased a three-shot lead over three holes and the two were knotted at 12 under par. They were on the 18th at Bay Hill Golf Club & Lodge and Singh was first to play from the fairway. His 7-iron approach got caught up in the wind, hit a rock guarding the putting surface and bounced into the pond.
Perry, in the first cut on the left side, played it safe from there. His 7-iron approach came up 50 feet short and left of the flag. Singh took his drop then hit his fourth over the green.
Vijay Singh
Vijay Singh reacts after dumping his ball in the water at the 18th
Perry lagged his long birdie putt to two feet. Singh chipped on and made the short putt for the stunning double bogey. Perry tapped in for his eighth PGA Tour victory.
'He was posing over there so it stunned me when it came up short,' admitted Perry, who pocketed $900,000 for the win. 'It was a big break for me because all I did was aim left. I knew I could three-putt to win the golf tournament.
'I was expecting him to hit it close. He's one of the best we've got out here. He was putting heat on me all day. I couldn't shake him.'
Perry posted a final-round, 2-under 70 to win the tournament at 12-under-par 276.
Singh can find solace in the fact that after a two-week stint in second, he returned to the No. 1 spot in the world rankings. He shot a 3-under 69 to tie for second place with Graeme McDowell, who fired a 6-under 66 in the final round. The duo tied at minus-10.
Since Singh shared second place with one other person, and Tiger Woods finished outside the top-eight, Singh reclaimed the top spot.
It was not that much of a consolation for Singh.
'Well, big deal, I lost the golf tournament,' said Singh. 'I just want to win the golf tournament. I really wasn't worried about the ranking. It's a shame that's happened, but you've got to look forward.'
This is the second week in a row that Singh has made a crucial mistake down the stretch. Last week in a playoff against Padraig Harrington at the Honda Classic, Singh missed a 3-footer that could have extended the extra session.
But Singh, who admitted he pulled the wrong club on 18, realizes that his game is strong heading toward next week's Players Championship, then the Masters in three weeks.
'I'm playing well and I'm looking forward to next week and two weeks down, the Masters,' said Singh. 'My game is just coming around. Hopefully it's going to be on for next week.'
McDowell's finish got him into the Players Championship next week as he will move into the top-50 in the world rankings. He will move into the mid-to-low 40s and if he stays above the top-50 after next week, McDowell will get his first invitation to the Masters.
'It would just be a dream come true, really. The Masters, I've watched that tournament since I was a boy,' said McDowell. 'Getting into next week is also very special. I'm excited about Sawgrass and I'm just excited the way the year is panning out in front of me.'
Woods never recovered from a poor third round where he drove out of bounds on the ninth hole and took a double bogey. He needed three birdies in his final six holes Sunday to shoot an even-par 72. Woods tied for 23rd at 1-under-par 287.
'It was a frustrating week,' said Woods, who won this title four years in a row from 2000-2003. 'I didn't really have it, didn't putt well, didn't hit the ball all that great and consequently, I wasn't in contention.'
Ernie Els, who came to Bay Hill after back-to-back wins on the European Tour, had a chance to become No. 1 in the world, but never got going. He made the cut on the number then went 69-70 over the final two rounds to be part of the group tied at minus-1.
Rankings aside, the tournament came down to Perry and Singh, two of the three players in the last group.
Both Perry and Singh birdied the 12th to maintain Perry's three-shot lead. The two parred both 13 and 14, then Singh began chipping away at Perry's advantage.
Perry missed the fairway and the green at 15, then ran his chip 6 feet past the hole. Singh knocked his approach to 15 feet and converted the birdie putt. Perry sank the clutch par save, but his lead dipped to two.
Singh drove in the right rough on the par-5 16th and was forced to lay up short with his second. Perry's iron shot went through the green and Singh wedged his approach inside a foot. Perry hit a terrible chip for his third, coming up 28 feet short. His birdie try stayed above ground and he made a 3-footer to save par. Singh tapped in for birdie and now the lead was only one.
At the par-3 17th, Singh hit a 4-iron on to the back fringe. Perry's tee ball landed 6 feet left of Singh's ball, but Perry ran his second 7 feet past the stick. Singh putted his birdie try and came up 4 feet short. Perry missed his par putt and Singh rolled his in to knot the two at 12 under with one hole to play.
From there, Perry played smartly and collected his first win since the 2003 Greater Milwaukee Open. That win was his third in four starts in an amazing run of summer golf and now the 44-year-old could be gearing up for another stint of great play.
'It's pretty cool,' said Perry. 'I've won at Hogan's Alley and I won at Mr. Nicklaus' place twice, now I've won at Arnie's place. That is a great feeling.'
Reigning U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen completed an improbable turnaround Sunday. He opened the tournament with a 78 and was tied for 97th. Goosen shot a 2-under 70 in the final round and finished alone in fourth at minus-5.
Corey Pavin collected his first top-5 finish in almost six years. He carded a 71 on Sunday and tied for fifth with Patrick Sheehan (67) and Aaron Baddeley (72). The group came in at 4-under-par 284.
Chad Campbell, who won this event in 2004, fired a 4-under 68 in the final round and tied for eighth place at minus-3. Ten other players joined Campbell at 3-under par, including Sergio Garcia, Darren Clarke, Fred Couples, Stewart Cink and Charles Howell III.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Bay Hill Invitational
  • Full Coverage - Bay Hill Invitational
  • Getty Images

    Rose tries to ignore scenarios, focus on winning

    By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:59 am

    ATLANTA – No one has more to play for than Justin Rose on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

    The Englishman will begin the day three strokes behind front-runner Tiger Woods after a third-round 68 that could have been much worse after he began his day with back-to-back bogeys.

    Winning the tournament will be Rose’s top priority, but there’s also the lingering question of the FedExCup and the $10 million bonus, which he is currently projected to claim.

    Projected FedExCup standings

    Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

    Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    “The way I look at tomorrow is that I have many scenarios in play. I have the FedExCup in play. I have all of that to distract me,” Rose said. “But yet, I'm three back. I think that's my objective tomorrow is to come out and play good, positive golf and try and chase down the leader and win this golf tournament. I think in some ways that'll help my other task of trying to win the FedExCup. It'll keep me on the front foot and playing positive golf.”

    Although there are many scenarios for Rose to win the season-long title, if Woods wins the Tour Championship, Rose would need to finish fifth or better to claim the cup.

    There’s also the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking to consider. Rose overtook Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world with his runner-up finish at the BMW Championship two weeks ago. He will retain the top spot unless Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka or Johnson win the finale and he falls down the leaderboard on Sunday.

    Getty Images

    McIlroy needs putter to heat up to catch Woods

    By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:29 am

    ATLANTA – Although Rory McIlroy is three strokes behind Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship and tied for second place he had the look of a man with a secret when he left East Lake on Saturday.

    Trying to play catch up against Woods is never ideal, but McIlroy’s confidence stemmed from a tee-to-green game that has been unrivaled for three days.

    “I definitely think today and the first day were similar,” said McIlroy, whose 66 included birdies at two of his final three holes. “I gave myself plenty of chances, and I think the biggest thing today was only just that one bogey. Got to put your ball in the fairway, put yourself in position, and for the most part, I did that today.”

    Projected FedExCup standings

    Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

    Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    For the week McIlroy ranks first in strokes gained: off the tee, third in strokes gained: approach to the green and second in greens in regulation. But to catch Woods, who he will be paired with, he’ll need a much better day on the greens.

    The Northern Irishman needed 30 putts on Day 2 and ranks 23rd, out of 30 players, in strokes gained: putting.

    McIlroy skipped the first playoff event, opting instead for an extra week at home to work on his swing and the move has paid off.

    “I hit the ball well. My wedge play has been really good,” he said. “I've done a lot of work on it the last few weeks, and it seems to have paid off.”

    Getty Images

    Glover trails Straka at Tour Championship

    By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 12:19 am

    ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Sepp Straka moved into position Saturday to earn a PGA Tour card in the Tour Championship, shooting a 7-under 64 to take the third-round lead.

    With the top 25 earners in the four-event Tour Finals getting PGA Tour cards Sunday, Straka birdied the final three holes to reach 18-under 195 - a stroke ahead of Curtis Luck, Lucas Glover and Denny McCarthy at Atlantic Beach Country Club.

    ''It's always good to get an extra birdie in late. I got three of them to finish, which was nice,'' Straka said. ''It's very bunched up there, so you can't really take off, you've got to keep the pedal down and see where you end up at the end.''

    Straka entered the week tied for 80th in the card race with $2,744. The 25-year-old former Georgia player from Austria won the KC Golf Classic in August for his first Tour title. He finished 31st on the money list to advance to the four-tournament series.

    ''My ball-striking is really good,'' Straka said. ''It's been good all week. It's been really solid. I really haven't gotten in a whole lot of trouble and have been able to capitalize on a good number of chances with the putter. Hit a couple of bad putts today, but some really good ones to make up for it.''

    Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

    Luck also shot 64. The 22-year-old Australian went into the week 16th with $41,587.

    ''Obviously, it just comes down to keeping that momentum going and trying not to change anything,'' Luck said. ''That's the really important thing and I felt like I did that really well. I played really aggressive on the back nine, still went after a lot of shots and I hit it close a lot out there.''

    Glover had a 68. The 2009 U.S. Open champion entered the week 40th with $17,212.

    McCarthy shot 67. He already has wrapped up a card, earning $75,793 in the first three events to get to 11th in the standings.

    The series features the top 75 players from the regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.

    Getty Images

    Woods' dominance evokes an old, familiar feeling

    By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:14 am

    ATLANTA – It felt so familiar – the roars, the fist pumps, the frenzied scramble to keep up with a leaderboard that was quickly tilting in Tiger Woods’ direction.

    For the handful of players who were around when Woods made a mysterious and maddening game seem simple, it was like old times, times that weren’t necessarily good for anyone not named Tiger.

    “I’m kind of nostalgic,” admitted Paul Casey, who turned pro in 2000, when Woods won the U.S. Open by 15 strokes, one of his nine PGA Tour victories that year.

    Casey’s 66 on Day 3 at the Tour Championship vaulted him into a tie for sixth place, but as the Englishman quickly vetted the math he knew those numbers were nothing more than window dressing.

    “Sixty-four is my best on a Sunday which puts me at 11 [under], so if he’s 12 I need to shoot my career best in the final round and he needs to do something very un-Tiger-like,” Casey laughed. “I think I’m just posturing for position.”

    Casey wasn’t giving up. In fact, given that he outdueled Woods earlier this year to win the Valspar Championship he could have hedged his comments and left the door cracked however slightly. But he’s seen, and heard, this too many times to allow competitive necessity to cloud reality.

    On Saturday at East Lake, Tiger Woods was his best version. Throughout this most recent comeback he’s offered glimpses of the old guy, the guy whose name atop a leaderboard echoed through locker rooms for the better part of two decades. After starting the day tied for the lead with Justin Rose, Tiger quickly separated himself from the pack with a birdie at the first.

    He added another at the third and by the time he birdied the seventh hole, his sixth birdie of the day, he’d extended that lead to five shots and was sending an unmistakable message that reached well beyond the steamy confines of East Lake.

    Projected FedExCup standings

    Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

    Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    This was what so many had waited for. This was the Tiger that Casey and others grew up dreading, a machine that never misses iron shots and makes clutch putts look like tap-ins.

    “The crowds were electric,” said Rose, who was paired with Woods. “He was running the tables there. He was hitting good shots and making the conversion putts.”

    Woods did come back to earth after his blistering start, playing his final 10 holes in 1 over par, but that did little to change the mood as the season moved to within 18 holes of the finish line.

    He would finish with a round-of-the-day 65 for a three-stroke lead over Rose and Rory McIlroy. The next closest players were a dozen strokes back, including Casey at 5 under par who didn’t need to be reminded of Woods’ 54-hole conversion rate.

    There are no guarantees in sports but Tiger with a 54-hole lead has been about as close to a lock as one will find this side of Las Vegas. He’s 42-for-44 when going into the final round with the outright lead and the last time he blew a 54-hole lead was at the 2009 PGA Championship.

    Of course, he hasn’t had a 54-hole lead since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Truth is, he hasn’t had much of anything since ’13 when his dominance was sidetracked by an ailing back. As intimidating as Woods’ play has been this week there was an unmistakable sense of, let’s call it curiosity.

    Asked if Woods’ lead felt different than it may have a decade ago, Rose’s response was telling. “Maybe,” he allowed after a pause. “It's a little more unknown now. Obviously his history, his statistics from this point are impeccable. They're incredible. But he's human, and there's a lot on it for him tomorrow, as well as the rest of us.”

    Rose wasn’t trying to trick himself into thinking the impossible was possible, although many have when they’ve found themselves in similar positions, it was simply the truth. Woods has had multiple chances this season to complete the comeback and he’s come up short each time.

    It was a poor iron shot off the 72nd tee at the Valspar Championship and an even worse drive a week later at Bay Hill’s 16th hole. It was a misplayed chip late on the back nine at The Open and a collection of missed putts at the PGA Championship, although in his defense it’s unlikely anyone could have caught Brooks Koepka at Bellerive.

    Nor was Rose being disrespectful. It’s simple math, really, and Woods’ body of work to this point, although wildly impressive considering how far he’s come in 12 months both physically and competitively, paints a clear picture. Given multiple chances to break through the victory ceiling he’s failed to deliver the way he did before injury and multiple back procedures.

    “I've felt very comfortable when I got into the mix there at Tampa even though it was very early in my start to this year. And because of that, I felt comfortable when I got to Bay Hill, (and) when I grabbed the lead at The Open Championship,” Woods said. “Things that didn't really feel abnormal, even though it's been years, literally years, since I've been in those spots, but I think I've been in those spots enough times that muscle memory, I guess I remembered it, and I felt comfortable in those spots.”

    In many ways the script couldn’t have been written any better for Woods. It’s the bottom of the ninth, two outs and the bases are loaded for the 14-time major champion. Hero time, his time.

    He’s been here so many times in his career and succeeded more times than not, and this new, reimagined version has the ultimate chance to complete what would arguably be the greatest comeback in sports history.

    The ultimate test still remains, but for 18 holes on Saturday it felt so familiar.