Singh holds on to capture his first World Golf Championship

Monday, August 4, 2008

AKRON, Ohio -- Vijay Singh raised both hands over his head when he saw his 3-foot par putt swirl into the cup for a one-shot victory, a familiar sight for someone who has won 32 times on the PGA Tour.

This was more relief than celebration at the Bridgestone Invitational.

On the verge of throwing away a World Golf Championship, as Phil Mickelson had done ahead of him, Singh overcame some shaky putting Sunday on the back nine of Firestone by making the only one that mattered.

Three times in the last year he had at least a share of the 54-hole and failed to finish it off. Needing two putts from 30 feet to end an 0-for-34 drought on the PGA Tour, the last thing he wanted was the kind of putt that has given him fits.

But he trusted the countless hours of practice he spent last week on such a putt, and it paid off.

"What a relief," Singh said. "I didn't think I could finish it there at the end."

With par putts on the final two holes, Singh closed with a 2-under 68 to hold off hard-charging Lee Westwood and Stuart Appleby and the fast-fading Mickelson, who lost a one-shot lead with three bogeys on his final four holes.

Singh captured his first World Golf Championship event and won for the 32nd time on the PGA Tour, putting him in the record books for most victories by an international player. He had been tied with Harry "Lighthorse" Cooper of England since winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March 2007, a victory that seemed like a lifetime ago.

"Although I was hadn't won, I was confident I was going to win," Singh said. "I told everybody that knows me that it's just a matter of time, it's going to come. This was a six-week run, and I was geared up to win. I'm glad that it happened the first week out."

As shaky as Singh looked down the stretch, Mickelson fared even worse.

With his best chance to win a WGC title -- especially with six-time Firestone champion Tiger Woods on the disabled list -- Mickelson played bogey-free for 14 holes and had a one-shot lead until taking bogey from the bunker on three of the last four holes, and watching yet another birdie putt from 10 feet hang on the edge. He closed with a 70 and tied for fourth with Retief Goosen (67).

"It wasn't a good finish for me, but I played really well today," Mickelson said. "I'm turning 63s and 64s into 70s, and that's kind of what happened today. I couldn't get any putts to go in, then in the end, I made some bogeys."

PGA Reno-Tahoe Open

Parker McLachlin shot a 2-over 74 Sunday and still cruised to his first PGA Tour victory by seven strokes at the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open.

McLachlin, in his second season on the PGA Tour, recovered from trouble time after time to card 14 pars, three bogeys and a birdie on the 18th to finish the tourney at 18-under 270.

"It feels like it has been a lifetime coming. It has been a dream of mine since I was about 12," said McLachlin, who grew up in Hawaii and played at UCLA. "This is a huge stepping stone for me."

The 29-year-old tied the course record with a 10-under 62 on Friday and set a 54-hole record at 20-under at the 7,472-yard Montreux Golf & Country Club near Lake Tahoe. But he had to scramble his way to the $540,000 winner's check after hitting only four greens in regulation for the day. Brian Davis and John Rollins tied for second at 11-under 277.

U.S, Senior Open

The 29th U.S. Senior Open will be remembered for the black bears that menaced The Broadmoor's East Course -- and the one cat who conquered it.

Eduardo Romero on Sunday became the second Argentine golfer to hoist the silver cup, 28 years after Roberto De Vicenzo won the trophy at Winged Foot.

"This is very important, very important because we're working hard for golf in Argentina," Romero said after the biggest win of his career. "I'm back to Argentina with this cup! It's mine!"

The 54-year-old Romero shot a 3-over 73 in the final round and, despite four straight bogeys on the back nine on the Colorado Springs, Colo., course, he was never seriously challenged by Fred Funk (75), who finished four strokes back.

Romero, who finished at 6-under 274 and won $470,000, is anticipating a hero's welcome when he returns Monday to Villa Allende in central province of Cordoba, the same city where his compatriots held a parade for 2007 U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera, whom Romero once sponsored on the European Tour.

Funk predicted Saturday that he'd have to make his move on the front nine and then just hold on. He did neither, failing to cut into the deficit and then watching his quest to become the fifth straight come-from-behind winner die on 13, where his 3-wood headed straight for the thigh-high grass on the left.

British Women's Open

What was billed as Annika Sorenstam's farewell to the majors turned into yet another showcase for the young stars from Asia.

Hours after Sorenstam walked up the 18th at the Women's British Open to a standing ovation and closed her final major with a birdie, Ji-Yai Shin won the last major of the year by three strokes after a final round 6-under 66 on Sunday.

Shin, a 20-year-old South Korean whose 21 previous victories were all in her homeland or Japan, maintained Asia's recent domination of the majors on the LPGA Tour. In capturing her first major with an 18-under score of 270, she led an Asian sweep of the top five places.

Taiwan's Yani Tseng, winner of the LPGA Championship earlier this year, was second with a 66 and a 15-under total of 273, while Korea's Eun Hee Ji (67) and Japanese third-round leader Yuri Fudoh (71) tied for third on 14-under. Japan's Ai Miyazato (70) was fifth at 13-under 275, and 13 of the top 20 were from Asia.

The other Asian to win a major this year was Korea's Inbee Park, who took the Women's U.S. Open.

Sorenstam, who is quitting tournament golf at the end of the year to get married, start a family and focus on her business, finished with a 10-foot birdie putt for a 68 and a 6-under 282, which left her tied for 24th. She tied with former Dalhousie touring pro Karen Stupples.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: