Perry wins when Singh splashes

Posted: Monday, March 21, 2005

ORLANDO, Fla. — Kenny Perry lost a three-shot lead in three holes, but emerged the winner in the Bay Hill Invitational on Sunday when Vijay Singh hit 7-iron off the rocks and into the water on the 18th hole en route to a double bogey.

With Singh in the water, Perry went for the center of the green and lagged his 70-foot putt 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 in 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. He finished with a 69.

The only consolation for Singh was replacing Tiger Woods at No. 1 in the world. With Woods chopping his way around Bay Hill to finish out of the top 20, Singh only had to finish fourth to return to No. 1 in the world ranking.

Perry finished at 12-under 276 for his eighth career victory, worth $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 and likely will earn him a spot in his first Masters.

Safeway International

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

The victory — the 58th of Sorenstam's LPGA career — was her second in two events this year and sixth in her last eight tournaments.

The four-time LPGA player of the year and scoring record-setter won her season debut in Mexico City two weeks ago.

Sorenstam finished with a 2-under 70 to match Ochoa (74) at 11-under 277. Juli Inkster (72) and Soo-Yun Kang (76) tied for third at 8 under.

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