Singh ends drought with record showing

Monday, April 1, 2002

THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- Vijay Singh didn't allow for much suspense in the final round of the Shell Houston Open.

Singh won his first PGA Tour title since the 2000 Masters, closing with a 4-under 68 Sunday for a six-stroke victory and tournament-record 22-under 266 total on the TPC at The Woodlands.

He earned $720,000 for his 10th PGA Tour title.

"It's been almost two years, I was wondering when the next one would come," said Singh, who did win consecutive European tour events last year in Asia. "It couldn't be at a better time, two weeks before the Masters."

He's the 14th straight different winner on the PGA Tour, the longest such stretch since 1994 when the tour went 20 straight tournaments without a repeat champion.

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke shot a 71 to finish second at 272, and Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal was another stroke back after a 70. Jay Haas (69) and Shigeki Murayama (70) followed at 275.

"I knew I wasn't going to worry about anybody but Darren, I played really well and kept him at bay," Singh said. "I really didn't want to worry about him and concentrate on what I was doing.

"Darren really played well. It was closer than it looked. He really didn't make a bad shot until his bogey on No. 17. That gave me a six-shot lead. I didn't have any trouble with that."

Singh's 22-under total shattered the tournament record of 18 under set by Curtis Strange in 1980 at Woodlands Country Club. Singh's six-stroke margin of victory matched the tournament record set by Jackie Burke in 1952.

Singh had played in 50 PGA Tour events without a victory.

"You always get antsy when you don't win, it's just a matter of how you handle it," Singh said. "Last year, I got a little antsy and this year I decided to just concentrate on playing. Today, I wanted to play a solid round and that's what I did."

Singh, who missed the cut last week in The Players Championship, birdied the first hole of the day and tightened his hold on the lead on No. 13 when Clarke hit his tee shot out of bounds.

Singh took his second shot over the water onto the green. Singh two-putted for a birdie and Clark scrambled to save par.

Singh took a five-stroke lead when he narrowly missed an eagle putt and settled for a birdie on No. 15 and Clarke bogeyed No. 17.

Clarke got his first birdie on No. 5 and reached 17 under par with another birdie on No. 7 to make the turn the same way he started the day, three shots behind Singh.

Nabisco Championship

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Annika Sorenstam held off fellow Swede Liselotte Neumann to become the first back-to-back winner in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Sorenstam closed with a 4-under 68 for a one-stroke victory, claiming the LPGA Tour's first major championship of the year.

She knocked in a 2-foot par putt on the final hole before Neumann faced a 15-foot birdie putt from just on the fringe that would have forced a playoff.

Sorenstam finished at 8-under 280 and earned $225,000 for her 33rd career victory.

Emerald Coast Classic

MILTON, Fla. -- Dave Eichelberger won his first Senior PGA Tour event in three years when rain wiped out the final round of the Emerald Coast Classic.

Eichelberger opened with consecutive 5-under 65s for a two- stroke victory over Doug Tewell, still two back after 10 holes when the final round was called off at The Moors Golf Club.

-- From wire reports

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