Uh-oh, Sergio!

Garcia's collapse gives Vijay victory

Posted: Monday, May 09, 2005

 

  Sergio Garcia, of Spain, reacts after missing a par putt on the first playoff hole during the Wachovia Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday May 8, 2005. Garcia matched the largest final-round collapse in PGA Tour history, last accomplished by Greg Norman in the 1996 Masters. Garcia was eliminated in fitting fashion, three-putting from 45 feet and missing a 6-footer for par on the first extra hole. AP Photo/Chuck Burton

Sergio Garcia, of Spain, reacts after missing a par putt on the first playoff hole during the Wachovia Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday May 8, 2005. Garcia matched the largest final-round collapse in PGA Tour history, last accomplished by Greg Norman in the 1996 Masters. Garcia was eliminated in fitting fashion, three-putting from 45 feet and missing a 6-footer for par on the first extra hole.

AP Photo/Chuck Burton

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Vijay Singh took advantage of a record-tying collapse by Sergio Garcia and an untimely mistake by Jim Furyk, rallying from six shots behind with a 6-under 66 and winning the Wachovia Championship on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff Sunday.

Singh only needed a par on the 18th hole at Quail Hollow to win for the third time this year after Furyk's tee shot skipped over a creek and rolled down into the water.

Still, he needed more help than anyone imagined possible.

Garcia twice had the tournament in his hands — at the start of the day with a six-shot lead, then recovering from his meltdown to take a one-shot lead with two holes to play.

But he pulled his tee shot on the par-3 17th into the water and scrambled for bogey, and missed a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to fall into a three-man playoff.

It matched the largest final-round collapse in PGA Tour history, last accomplished by Greg Norman in the 1996 Masters. Garcia was eliminated in fitting fashion, three-putting from 45 feet and missing a 6-footer for par on the first extra hole.

''They say you learn more from your losses than your wins,'' Garcia said after closing with a 72. ''And I've got a lot from this week to learn.''

Singh, Garcia and Furyk all finished at 12-under 276, four shots better than anyone else.

Singh's victory overshadowed a gritty performance by Furyk, who birdied two of his last three holes to get into the playoff, including a 7-footer on the 18th.

He had a 12-foot birdie putt to win on the second extra hole, No. 16, that grazed the left side of the lip. And he twice made nervy 4-footers for par to stay in the game.

But it ended on the 18th, when his tee shot skipped over the creek along the left side of the fairway and down into the water. He took a drop, played short of the green, then hit the flag with his fourth shot and watched helplessly as it rolled into the rough.

Singh played away from the flag and into the bunker, but blasted out to a foot and tapped in for an unlikely victory.

He joined Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as the only three-time winners on the PGA Tour this year, one that never looked possible until Garcia couldn't make a putt, then couldn't hit a fairway.

Spectacular as ever, the 42-year-old Fijian applied enormous pressure with a 12-foot par putt on the ninth, then four straight birdies to start the back nine that gave him a two-shot lead.

But even he tried to give it away.

Singh flubbed a chip behind the par-5 15th, turning birdie into bogey, and needed more help from Garcia to get into a playoff. The 25-year-old Spaniard delivered, taking on the pin at the peninsula-green 17th. His 7-iron caromed off the bank and into the water.

''It was the perfect club, I just didn't hit a good shot,'' Garcia said. ''I couldn't get the job done.''

Furyk also closed with a 66 and was flawless from tee-to-green, costing himself only by missing three birdie putts inside 12 feet on the back nine. But in his best performance since wrist surgery last year, the former U.S. Open champion was gritty as ever down the stretch to birdie the 16th and 18th.

Singh likely won't earn enough points to replace Woods at No. 1 in the world, although he'll get that chance next week in the Byron Nelson Championship.

Nothing went right for Woods all week, even when he was finished.

After an eagle on the 15th and closing with a birdie, PGA Tour rules officials determined that he should not have moved a fence right of the 10th fairway, that was damaged when the gallery joined in to help. He was given a two-shot penalty, turning his 69 into a 71 and leaving him in a tie for 11th.

Woods left the scoring trailer without comment.

Masters runner-up Chris DiMarco closed with a 66 to finish fourth, his third consecutive finish in the top five. Mickelson was 9 under through 15 holes until dropping three shots over the final two holes for a 66 to tie for seventh.

Garcia became the fifth player to blow a six-shot lead on the PGA Tour, although it wasn't nearly as spectacular as when Norman shot 78 in the final round of the '96 Masters to lose by five.

But there were early indications of a massive struggle.

Garcia had a slippery 10-foot birdie on the first hole that just missed and trickled 30 inches by, and he lipped that out for bogey. He missed from 8 feet on the next hole, then 10-footers on the fourth and fifth holes.

The only thing holding him together was his swing, and it wasn't long before that fell apart.

He drove so far left into the trees on No. 9 he could only punch out to the rough, and then he was headed for more trees until his third shot struck a fan and landed short. But he chipped poorly to 40 feet and made double bogey.

His six-shot lead was down to two at the turn.

Garcia again pulled his tee shot into the trees on the par-5 10th and had to settle for par, and Singh caught him for the first time with a 4-foot birdie on the 11th.

The Fijian was pouring it on. Garcia was leaking oil.

And when Garcia made bogey from the bunker on the par-3 13th, he was two shots behind — an eight-shot swing in just 13 holes on a course where everyone else was making up ground.

Even when momentum shifted back to Garcia, he let it get away. Tied for the lead, he hit his approach into 6 feet on the 15th for a great look at eagle, but missed the putt.

Ultimately, all that got him was a dubious entry in the record books.

Michelob Ultra Open

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) — Five tournaments in the making, Annika Sorenstam's winning streak ended with one miserable hole.

After climbing the leaderboard Sunday morning, Sorenstam's chances for a record sixth straight victory ended with a double-bogey on the third hole of the final round at the Michelob Ultra Open. She finished at 2-over 286, 10 strokes behind winner Cristie Kerr.



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