Associated Press

Honolulu, January 17:

A forgotten figure most of the week despite his No 1 ranking, Vijay Singh showed up when it counted with a routine birdie on the final hole to cap off a 5-under 65 and win the Sony Open. Singh never had the lead at breezy Waialae Country Club until he hammered a 300-yard drive on the par-5 18th, hit a utility club just short of the green and took two putts to avoid a playoff against hard-charging Ernie Els.

It was the kind of start to the 2005 season Singh wanted, coming off nine victories last year.

Singh finished at 11-under 269, and the $864,000 first-place cheque returned him to the top of the money list. With all the talk of the “Big Three,” the 41-year-old Fijian showed he’s still the man to beat.

Els made two short birdies, then an 18-foot eagle on the final hole to tie the course record with a 62. He remained tied for the lead longer than he imagined, when Singh missed four birdie putts inside 18 feet on the back nine, and Shigeki Maruyama squandered away shots down the stretch.