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Singh outlasts Daly

Posted: Monday, April 25, 2005

HUMBLE, Texas — Vijay Singh waited patiently for a break in the final round of the Shell Houston Open. John Daly finally gave him a big one on the first extra hole.

Taking advantage of Daly's playoff drive that skipped into the water, Singh overcome putting problems and a long birdie drought to win the tournament for the second straight year and third time in four years.

''I'm really pleased with the way I hung in there and never gave up,'' Singh said. ''Fortunately for me nobody came out of the pack except for John and kind of made a run at it. It was a good way to finish.''

Daly, who birdied the final two holes for a 5-under 67 to match Singh at 13-under 275, sent his drive on the first extra hole, the par-4 18th, into the water. Then, after a drop, Daly sent his third over the green.

''I'm proud of myself for coming back like that and hitting some shots when I needed to,'' Daly said. ''I wished I could have done better in the playoff.''

Singh, who had only two birdies in his closing 70, calmly made a par for his 26th PGA Tour victory and second of the year.

The 42-year-old Fijian earned $900,000 to pass Tiger Woods for second place on the money list with $3,836,413, just $6,043 behind leader Phil Mickelson. Singh also pushed his career total to $40.5 million, second only to Woods.

Jose Maria Olazabal (70) finished third at 11 under, and Darren Clarke (67) and Greg Owen (72) tied for fourth at 10 under.

Joe Oglivie (71) was next at 9 under, followed by six players at 8 under, including third-round co-leader Gavin Coles (75) and Jeff Maggert (71), who has finished second at this event three times.

Singh, recently elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame, couldn't slam the door on Daly in regulation when his birdie attempt at 18 rolled just past the cup after a brilliant approach from the far right side to 8 feet of the flag.

''I obviously thought Vijay would hit it in on 18,'' Daly said. ''You don't ever want anybody to miss a putt, but it was nice to get in a playoff to have another chance to win.''

Singh, who began the round tied with Coles for the lead at 11 under, had only two birdies in the final round — at the 14th and 15th holes.

He had putting problems from the beginning. He missed a 4-footer at No. 2 and two-putted from 20 feet at No. 6. A 44-foot attempt on the par-3 fifth hole missed by 3 inches, but he stayed alive making 13 straight pars.

He had a chance to break his birdie drought at the 12th hole, where he came out of the sand to 10 feet from the hole, but his birdie attempt rimmed the edge of the cup and stayed out. Finally at No. 14, a 6-footer found the hole and Singh was back in front.

''I was putting well, the lines were just really difficult to read,'' Singh said. ''I don't think there's any point where I felt like I wasn't going to make a putt.

''I made my birdies at the right time... But that's where you have to have patience. I did that very well today.''

Daly, three shots off the lead going into play Sunday, had three birdies and two bogeys in the front nine, then made a birdie at No. 12, converting a 5-footer.

At the 15th, a par 5, his drive went into the woods and he punched back to the fairway, then drilled his third shot to 4 feet to set up a birdie that gave him a share of the lead for the first time.

Daly skipped his shot over the green at 16 but was able to come back for par. At 17, his approach got within 4 1/2 feet of the flag and his birdie returned him to the lead with Singh. Moments later, however, Singh — playing three groups back — birdied No. 15.

At the par-4 18th, Daly's second shot landed 9 feet away prompting a roar from the crowd that grew even louder after he rolled it home for birdie to go to 13 under and ultimately force the playoff.

''I take it that under pressure that maybe I've still got it,'' Daly said. ''When you're not there a lot, it's kind of nice to do that.''

Coles, ranked 388th in the world, matched Singh, the world's second-ranked player stroke for stroke as each parred the first seven holes. Coles finally stumbled at the par-4 11th, where he made a double bogey after his drive went far to the right into the woods and his second shot landed in the sand. A bogey at the 14th ended his chances. He ended up with a 75 to finish five shots back.

Corona Morelia Championship

MORELIA, Mexico (AP) — Sweden's Carin Koch won the Corona Morelia Championship for her second LPGA Tour victory, beating France's Karine Icher by six strokes.

The 34-year-old Koch, also the 2001 Corning Classic winner, closed with her second straight 1-under 71 to finish at 9-under 279. She earned $150,000.

Icher shot a 70.

Koch took control with a birdie on the par-5 15th, then watched as third-round co-leader Wendy Ward dropped out contention with a triple bogey on No. 16. Ward, the winner last week in Las Vegas, finished with a 78 to tie for third with Scotland's Catriona Matthew (72) at 2 under.

Lorena Ochoa, who won twice last year to become the LPGA Tour's first Mexican-born champion, shot a 73 to tie for 16th at 5 over.

Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Ireland's Des Smyth shrugged off unseasonable wind and cold weather to win for the second time on the Champions Tour this season, a two-stroke victory over Tom Jenkins in the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.

Smyth, who won the SBC Classic in March in California, shot a 1-under 71 for an 8-under 208 total on The Club at Savannah Harbor. He earned $382,000.

Jenkins closed with a 71. Wayne Levi (76) and Tom Purtzer (75) tied for third at 5 under, and Jim Thorpe (73) was fifth at 4 under.

Johnnie Walker Classic

BEIJING (AP) — Australia's Adam Scott won the Johnnie Walker Classic, finishing with an even-par 72 for a three-stroke victory over South Africa's Retief Goosen.

Scott finished at 18-under 270 on the Pine Valley course in the event sanctioned by European, Asian and Australasian tours.

Virginia Beach Open

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Former Georgia Tech star Troy Matteson won his first Nationwide Tour title, closing with a 4-under 68 for a two-stroke victory over Chris Couch in the Virginia Beach Open.



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