Singh wins Buick Open

Grand Blanc, August 1:

Vijay Singh followed up three spectacular rounds with an average one and it was enough to hold off a surging Tiger Woods and win the Buick Open on Sunday. Singh closed with a final-round 70 for a four-stroke victory and a 24-under 264 total. Woods, who began the day eight shots back, tied for second after vaulting into contention with six birdies and an eagle in a nine-hole stretch. After making a 17-foot putt for birdie at No 17 to pull within two shots, Woods cupped his left ear to coax a louder reaction from the raucous gallery. Woods’ drive at the final hole sailed wide right while Singh, playing two groups behind, made his second birdie to take a three-shot lead. Woods bogeyed the final hole and fell another shot back. Zach Johnson (69) tied Woods for second at 20 under. Robert Allenby (65) finished 18 under, alone in fourth. Singh is the first three-time champion at the Buick Open, a tournament that started in 1958. He’s also the first repeat champion since Tony Lema in 1965. The 42-year-old Fijian has won four events this year and 28 in his career.

Singh’s five-shot lead was his largest entering a final round. The four times he led by three after 54 holes, he won each event. That allowed him to play conservatively, making two birdies and 16 pars. Singh matched the event’s 54-hole record of 22-under 194. If he shot 67 or better for the sixth straight time, he would’ve eclipsed Robert Wrenn’s mark of 26 under, set in 1987. He started the week with three victories, the same total he had entering the 2004 Buick Open. His last victory in Detroit started a run of six wins in eight events, including the US PGA Championship. He went on to win player of the year honours. Singh will go for his third US PGA Championship title and fourth major victory in two weeks. Woods played for the first time since winning the British Open two weeks ago. At Baltusrol in New Jersey, he’ll shoot for his 11th major title. He had an up-and-down tournament, opening with a 71 and then moving into contention with an 11 under before falling back with a 70.