Tue, Mar 22, 2005 - Page 19 News List

Kenny Perry wins Bay Hill

PRO GOLF TOUR Perry finished at 12-under 276 for his eighth career victory and a quick US$900,000 for the win


Vijay Singh returned to No. 1 in the world Sunday, but blew a chance to win a tournament for the second straight week.

Kenny Perry lost a three-shot lead in three holes, but emerged the winner at the Bay Hill Invitational when Singh hit his approach off the rocks and into the water on the 18th hole to make double bogey.

With Singh in the water, Perry went for the center of the green and lagged his putt to within 2 feet. He closed with a 2-under 70 and at age 44 became the oldest winner of Arnold Palmer's tournament.

Last week, Singh missed a 2 1/2-foot par putt on the second extra hole at the Honda Classic to lose to Padraig Harrington. The Fijian made a spectacular charge at Bay Hill, with two birdies and a clutch par to erase a three-shot deficit and reach the 18th hole with momentum on his side. From 174 yards in the middle of the fairway, he posed over his shot as it descended against hazy skies, then bent over in anguish as it crashed off the rocks and splashed into the lake.

"It stunned me," Perry said. "I expected him to come up close. It was a big break for me. I just aimed left and played it safe. I knew I could three-putt."

The only consolation for Singh was replacing Tiger Woods at No. 1 in the world.

"Big deal," Singh said. "I lost the golf tournament."

For the second straight week, Singh watched someone else pose with the trophy. And for the second straight week, he declined to come into the press center for an interview as a joint runner-up.

Perry finished at 12-under 276 for his eighth career victory, worth US$900,000, and giving him loads of confidence coming into the first stretch of big tournaments.

The other consolation prize went to Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland.

He never seriously challenged for the lead, but the 25-year-old turned in a flawless final round that produced the best round of the tournament. He closed with a 6-under 66 to tie for second with Singh, which gets him into The Players Championship next week.

Sweden's Annika Sorenstam won her fourth straight LPGA Tour start, making up four strokes in the last three holes and then beating Mexico's Lorena Ochoa on the first hole of a playoff in the Safeway International.

The victory -- the 58th of Sorenstam's LPGA Tour career -- was her second in two events this year.

Sorenstam finished with a 2-under 70 to match Ochoa (74) at 11-under 277.

Sorenstam, the four-time LPGA player of the year and scoring record-setter, won her season debut in Mexico City two weeks ago, dashing the 23-year-old Ochoa's dream of a victory in her native land. It was more of the same this time, but with a twist.

Ochoa was 14 under to Sorenstam's 10 under after birdieing the 15th hole.

But it was series of mistakes after that for Ochoa.

Juli Inkster (72) and Kang Soo-yun (76) tied for third at 8 under.

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