Singh Puts Faith In Putting for Barclays Victory

There was a time when the big four of golf was Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh and Enrie Els.

A couple of names have dropped off that list, hopefully, to bounce back again. Vijay Singh is determined to stay there as long as he can.

And with his victory at The Barclays, the gentle giant from Fiji is definitely back. Singh beat Sergio Garcia and Kevin Sutherland in a play-off to win the first of the FedExCup Series and his record fourth Barclays title.

The former world number one sneaked up on the field with a closing round of 70 to tie Garcia and Sutherland on eight-under-par 276 for the tournament.

That was one stroke ahead of a trio comprising Mathew Goggin, Ben Curtis and Kevin Streelman.

Singh took top honours on the second extra hole after Sutherland was eliminated after the 73rd hole.

He had to sink a 26-footer to nullify Garcia’s 27-foot putt on the first extra hole, the 18th. Then the Fijian and Spaniard went head-to-head, where Garcia got a little help from what appears to be a gopher.

He hit his second shot behind a tree and sought relief because of “gopher holes”, which he said were moving because the animal was actually burrowing at the time.

He was allowed to drop one club length away because of the unstable ground underneath and this gave him a clear path to the green.

He hit his approach to about 30 feet from the hole in front of the green and nearly holed his chip. However, Singh tapped in for birdie to ensure victory.

Singh, who also won the Bridgestone Invitational this year, attributed a change of attitude to his victory, by making sure he puts more faith in his putting. He said on the PGA Tour website:

“I think through the past weeks and months and years, with the media talking about my putting and writing about my putting and people talking about my putting and people want to help me, I must have had hundreds of letters and phone calls and all saying that they can fix my putting. You know, at the end of the day, it kind of gets to your head that you’re not a good putter.

“So I made a point that I’m going to change that attitude, and I believed in myself that I’m the best putter, and I came out here with a different attitude, and I putted great this week. If I keep doing this, I’m going to win a lot more golf tournaments.”

For Garcia, it was another second place, having lost to Padraig Harrington at the recent PGA Championship. He also missed out on his third Barclays title.

On the European Tour, Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke boosted his hopes of claiming a spot on Europe’s Ryder Cup team with victory at the KLM Open at the Kennemer Golf and Country Club in the Netherlands.

Clarke shot a final round of 16-under-par 66 for a total of 16-under 264 and a four-stroke victory over Ireland’s Paul McGinley, who closed with 64.

The Ulsterman is unable to win an automatic place in the European squad to face the United States in September in Kentucky, but he is hoping his good form will convince skipper Nick Faldo to choose him as one of the two captain’s picks.

Clark has played in the past five tournaments against the United States and wants to make it six in a row by challenging for honours at his next tournament, the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson was third on 269 after fourth round of 68 while lee Slattery and Marc Warren shared fourth place on 271.

Meanwhile, Christie Kerr won her 11th LPGA Tour title and first of the season when she triumphed at the Safeway Classic in Portland, Oregan.

Kerr sank a 20-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole to beat Sophie Gustafson and Helen Alfredsson in a play-off.

All three players finished on 13-under 203 for the three rounds of the tournament. Katherine Hull was two strokes behind in fourth with Han Hee-won fifth on 10-under.

World number one Lorena Ochoa and Annika Sorenstam joined Angela Park, Paula Creamer and Catriona Matthew on joint-sixth place at seven-under.

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