Tue, Nov 11, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Campbell eclipses Woods, Singh to land first trophy

AP , HOUSTON

Chad Campbell holds the trophy after winning the 2003 Tour Championship .

PHOTO: REUTERS

Life on the PGA Tour is about to change for Chad Campbell.

After struggling for years on the minor league circuits, Campbell hit it big on Sunday when he shot a final-round 3-under 68 and became the first player to make the Tour Championship his first victory.

Campbell finished at 16-under 268 -- the lowest score in relation to par in the 17-year history of the Tour Championship -- to win by three shots over Charles Howell III.

"I think you're a little bit more respected once you win," Campbell said. "There are so many good players, especially at this tournament, you've got 30 guys that have had the best years."

Two of those players -- Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh -- will have to let their peers decide who gets PGA Tour player of the year.

Both could have settled the issue by winning the Tour Championship. Singh recovered from a bad opening round to tie for fifth; Woods struggled the final three days, including a final-round 74, and finished 26th, his worse ever in the season-ending tournament.

Still, Singh wrapped up his first money title, while Woods picked up a record fifth straight Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average, and won his sixth PGA of America Player of the Year award.

While the player of the year vote figures to be close, the Tour Championship wasn't.

Campbell built a five-stroke lead at the turn and cruised the rest of the way.

Howell had a 70, ending his streak of seven rounds in the 60s at the Tour Championship. A year ago, he was in the 60s all four days at East Lake and finished second to Singh.

Retief Goosen had a 69 and was at 272, while Chris Riley -- Campbell's roommate at University of Nevada-Las Vegas -- had a 70 to finish fourth at 273.

Howell, who got his first Tour victory at the Michelob Championship last year, knows what Campbell has been experiencing trying to break through.

"To see your name on the leader board on Sunday and to carry that on, it's a nerve-racking feeling," Howell said. "People say they don't pay attention to the leader boards. They're lying. When these leader boards turn over out here they sound like machine guns firing.

"If you have a leader board right beside you, you're ducking. To come out on top is very rewarding."

Singh finished the season with US$7,573,907, ending Woods' four-year run as the money champion. Woods was second with US$6,673,413.

"It's probably the biggest accomplishment in my career I've had, especially at my age," said Singh, who finished with a 68. "It's nobody's goal to win the money title when you start but as the year goes along I started playing better and better and it was my goal."

Woods also broke one of the oldest records in golf by making the cut for the 114th consecutive tournament. Byron Nelson finished in the money 113 times in a row in the 1940s.

"It's one of those things I'm proud of," Woods said. "There are times I haven't played well enough to probably make a cut but with good fortune or hard work or fighting it out I've been able to make the cuts."

Woods needed a victory for a record fifth straight money title. But his putter failed him throughout the week at Champions Golf Club.

"I didn't win it in 1998 or in 1996. It happens," he said. "It's happened before and it will probably happen again."

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