Vijay Singh wins three way playoff
Fiji's Vijay Singh held his composure to win the 86th U.S. PGA Championship in a three-way playoff on Sunday, clinching the third major title of his career.
The world number three, U.S. PGA champion at Sahalee in 1998, holed a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-four 10th, the first of three extra holes, to edge out Americans Justin Leonard and Chris DiMarco for the prized Wanamaker Trophy.
Singh, 41, parred the remaining playoff holes, 17 and 18, to become the fourth oldest U.S. PGA champion and secure his fifth PGA Tour victory of the year.
The trio had completed a tough final round at Whistling Straits level on eight-under-par 280, Singh carding a 76, Leonard a 75 and DiMarco a 71.
"I'm a bit surprised that I won the way I scored today," said the 41-year-old Singh, whose closing four-over 76 was the highest final round by a winner in the tournament's history.
"I had 17 two-putts out there. But you've just got to stay patient, and nobody was making a move," he told reporters.
"I made my first birdie (of the day) on the 19th hole, which is why I had such a big smile.
"Justin let me off there on the last hole (of regulation), and a few other holes before that."
The Fijian, winner of the 2000 U.S. Masters, led by a shot going into the final day but appeared to throw away his victory hopes when he double-bogeyed the fourth and dropped more strokes on seven and 15.
However Leonard, who was one clear with three to play in regulation, bogeyed three of the last five holes to take the tournament into a playoff.
The American, who missed the green with his approach at the last, failed to sink a 12-foot par putt for the title.
"What ultimately cost me the tournament was my putting, and I missed about four putts, I think, inside of 10 feet on the back nine," said 1997 British Open champion Leonard.
"It's pretty hard to win a golf tournament, much less a major, when you do something like that."
Three-times major winner Ernie Els three-putted from around 80 feet at the last to cost himself the chance of joining the playoff. The South African returned a 73 to tie for fourth at seven-under 281 with American Chris Riley, also after a 73.
Els completed his fourth top-10 finish at this year's majors while Riley and DiMarco booked their places as rookies in the U.S. Ryder Cup team to take on Europe at Oakland Hills next month.
U.S. Masters champion Phil Mickelson closed with a 74 to share sixth place with Ireland's Paul McGinley (69) and South Korea's K.J. Choi (70).
The early momentum in the lead grouping was with Leonard, who caught playing partner Singh at the 181-yard third when he holed a 15-foot birdie putt.
The 32-year-old Texan then moved clear at the par-four fourth where Singh ran up a double-bogey six after pulling his tee shot into a bunker in the left rough before finding sand with his second shot.
Leonard, ice-cool as the wind began to pick up, scrambled well to save par on five and six before he missed a short putt for par at the seventh to slip back to 11 under.
He then parred the next two holes to take a two-shot cushion into the tough closing stretch.
But DiMarco, who had picked up his first shot of the day at the par-four ninth, reeled off further birdies on 11 and 12 to move to 10 under.
Moments later, Leonard bogeyed the par-four 10th after overshooting the elevated green with his approach and failing to get up and down. He was now locked in a tie for the lead with DiMarco with eight holes remaining.
However, the Texan holed a 20-footer for birdie on 13 to go two shots clear of the chasing pack before dropping his third stroke of the day at the par-four 14th, the start of his stumbling finish.
The par-72 Straits Course, already the longest layout in major championship history, was stretched to 7,526 yards for the final round, with pin positions at their most difficult for the week.
World number one Tiger Woods was one of several players to struggle, mixing five bogeys with four birdies on his way to a one-over 73.
Woods, who has not won a major since the 2002 U.S. Open, finished at two-under 286.
"It's very disappointing," said the 28-year-old. "I felt like I was playing quite well going into the tournament but I just didn't put it together on the first day."
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