Tue, Jan 09, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Fiji's ageless Singh dominates Kapalua, keeps eye on future


Vijay Singh did not seem too interested in the history he made by winning the Mercedes-Benz Championship. A month away from turning 44, all he cares about is the future.

Coming off his least productive golf season in five years, Singh reminded a winners-only field at Kapalua that he is still a major force by closing with a 3-under 70 for a two-shot victory over Adam Scott on Sunday.

It was Singh's 18th victory since turning 40, breaking the US PGA Tour record held by Sam Snead.

And Singh became the first player atop the standings in the new FedExCup competition, which the tour has dubbed a "new era in golf."

His win brought out the old version of Singh, who delivered a strong statement that his best golf is not behind him.

"I wanted this win and I practiced hard for it," Singh said. "I worked hard and it paid off."

How much longer can he continued to play at this level?

"Fred Funk won a golf tournament when he was 48 and I'm a lot bigger and a lot stronger than Freddie Funk," Singh said. "If he can win at 48, what makes me think I'm not going to win when I'm 50? If I'm healthy and playing the way I'm doing right now ... five, six, 10 years, I don't know. I'm just going to keep going."

He had a lot to prove at Kapalua. Singh had only one victory in his last 35 tournaments and conventional wisdom held that his body was breaking down. Instead, he worked harder than ever. He worked out twice a day,and hit balls for five hours in between. He promised himself to be ready to play when he arrived at the season-opening tournament and he was in command at Kapalua from the start.

Singh doubled the size of his three-shot lead after two holes and played the final 29 holes in blustery conditions without a bogey. Only a late charge by Scott kept it interesting.

"You don't throw in the towel ever, no matter what," said Scott, who trailed by five shots with seven to play and narrowly missed a birdie putt on the 17th that would have trimmed the lead to one. "It wasn't quite enough."

Singh finished at 14-under 278 and earned US$1.1 million to push him over US$50 million for his career.

It was his 30th career victory, tying him with Leo Diegel for 16th for career victories on the US PGA Tour.

And he earned 4,500 points for the new FedExCup competition, a season-long points race. The tour's promotion has been so strong that Singh said earlier this week he was tired of listening to it. All he wanted to do was win tournaments and he took care of that quickly.

Scott wound up missing his 3-foot comeback putt for par on the 17th, but a birdie on the 18th made the margin look closer. Scott closed with a 69, enough to move up to No. 3 in the world ahead of Phil Mickelson.

"I'm sneaking up there," the Australian said. "It's a nice thing, but until you're No. 1 it's no big deal. I don't think I'm going to be there anytime soon."

Trevor Immelman of South Africa birdied the 18th for a 72 to finish third.

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