Three months after winning the FedEx Cup, Vijay Singh padded his most lucrative year in golf on Sunday by making a 10-foot birdie on the final hole for a five-under 67 and a one-shot victory in the Chevron World Challenge.
Age has never slowed the 45-year-old Singh and rust doesn’t appear to be much of an issue either.
Singh has not competed in stroke play since Sept. 28 at the Tour Championship, where he wrapped up the FedEx Cup and its US$10 million prize. Three months later, he ran off three straight birdies early on the back nine at Sherwood Country Club, then holed a 10-footer on the final hole to beat Steve Stricker (68) by a stroke.
Singh won US$1.35 million, pushing his earnings for the year over US$18 million. That includes the US$10 million bonus from the FedEx Cup, and the US$6.6 million on the PGA Tour to win the money title for the third time in six years.
“Very unexpected,” said Singh, who finished at 11-under 277 and won Tiger Woods’ charity event for the first time. “I was just hanging in there. I figured if I shot 67 or 68, I would be right there with a chance.”
Anthony Kim, the 54-hole leader, and Jim Furyk did their own charity work on a splendid afternoon of sunshine.
Kim was one shot out of the lead until making consecutive double-bogeys, driving into the bushes on the 14th and hitting his seven-iron short and into the water on the par-three 15th. He birdied the next two holes, but by then it was over. Kim closed with a 73 and tied for third with Hunter Mahan, who shot 68.
Furyk, playing for the first time since Oct. 15, built a two-shot lead on the front nine, until a pair of three-putt bogeys. He was tied with Singh after a six-foot birdie on the 13th, and still only one shot behind from the middle of the fairway on the par-five 16th when it all came undone.
He twice went into the rough and made bogey on the 16th, missing the par-three 17th green to drop another shot and with the tournament already decided, found the water on the 18th hole for the second straight day to make double-bogey. Furyk wound up dropping five shots over the final five holes for a 74 and tied for fifth with Camilo Villegas (73).
Ben Curtis was the only other player in the 16-man field to finish under par.
■ SOUTH AFRICAN OPEN
AFP, PEARL VALLEY, SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa’s Richard Sterne moved into the world top 50 on Sunday after capturing the South African Open title at Pearl Valley Golf Estates in the western Cape.
Sterne beat Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin on the first play-off hole, the par-five 18th, after both had finished on 14-under 274 after four rounds. The outcome means the second oldest national golf championship has been won by only six foreigners.
Sterne recorded a birdie four at the 18th in the playoff, while Maybin only managed a par after finding a fairway bunker off the tee.
Sterne forced his way into contention with a brilliant final-round 66, while Maybin settled for a two-under 70. However, it could have been so different for the Irishman had his putter not let him down on the 18th in regulation play. Needing to sink a birdie putt of no more than six feet to win, Maybin pushed his attempt wide, opening the way for Sterne to sneak past him in the play-off.