Originally created 06/12/06

Singh wins record third Barclays Classic title



HARRISON, N.Y. - Vijay Singh ended a 21-event winless streak with his record third Barclays Classic title, closing with a 3-under 68 in windy conditions Sunday for two-stroke victory over Adam Scott in the final tournament before the U.S. Open.

"I was never worried about a win," Singh said. "I was worried about the way I was playing. The pressure kind of mounted that way."

Singh, a shot behind leader Billy Andrade after the third round, took a two-stroke lead over Brett Quigley with a 25-foot birdie putt on the 218-yard 16th and added a birdie on the par-5 18th to finish at 10-under 274.

"This gives me a lot of confidence," Singh said about the U.S. Open at nearby Winged Foot. "It gives me the feeling that, hey, if I get in contention, I can finish it off. Just getting into contention is a big thing out here."

Also the 1993 and 1995 champion, Singh is the first three-time winner in the 40-year-old tournament and only the second player to win three PGA Tour titles on the Westchester Country Club course. Jack Nicklaus won the 1965 Thunderbird on the hilly, tree-lined layout and added Westchester Classic titles in 1967 and 1972.

The 43-year-old Fijian won for the first time since the Buick Open last July to raise his PGA Tour victory total to 29 and tie Sam Snead's tour record for victories over 40 with 17. Singh won after failing to finish under par in his previous three tournaments, the first time he had done that in regular PGA Tour events since 1998.

"My head was correct," Singh said. "I wasn't getting angry with my game - not letting bad shots affect me like the last few weeks."

Singh had only one birdie in the first 15 holes in his bogey-free round - a two-putt birdie on the par-5 fifth - with the wind swirling through the trees at 10-15 mph and gusting to 20-25 mph.

"I was just making pars and keeping steady," he said. "I played the golf course. I just played my own game."

Scott eagled the 18th - his second eagle of the day - for a 70, while Quigley shot his second straight 70 to join Andrade (72) at 7 under. Tom Pernice Jr. (67), Jeff Sluman (68), Luke Donald (70) and Fredrik Jacobson (71) tied for fifth at 6 under.

Scott holed a 30-yard pitch on the par-4 11th to take the lead at 9 under, but dropped a stroke on 13 after hitting his drive into the left rough, and three-putted the 14th from inside 5 feet to fall to 7 under. He followed with a double bogey on 16 before birdieing the 17th and holing a 25-foot eagle putt on 18.

"I just didn't want to get down on myself," Scott said. "I saved a bit of face at the end with the birdie-eagle finish and I got second place out of it, which is better than finishing par-par and coming in 12th or something."

Scott has finished in the top four in his last four PGA Tour starts. The 25-year-old Australian tied for fourth last week in the Memorial after missing the cut two weeks ago in the European tour's BMW Championship.

Quigley, winless in 268 PGA Tour starts, made a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 10 to tie Singh and Scott for the lead at 8 under before falling back with a bogey on the 13th after hooking his drive into the trees. He parred the final five holes.

"I played pretty well," said Quigley, who began the week by winning the U.S. Open qualifier at Canoe Brook. "I hung in there.... Normally, my strength is my putting. Not that it let me down, but I just didn't make any putts."

Pernice, playing in a threesome with Masters champion Phil Mickelson, took the lead at 8 under with a sand-save birdie on the par-5 ninth, his third straight birdie in a front-nine 30. He had three bogeys and a birdie on the back nine to finish at 6 under.

"I hit some really nice iron shots," Pernice said.

Mickelson shot a 72 to finish at 1 under in his final tournament round before the U.S. Open. He has won the last two majors.

Divots: Singh earned $1,035,000 from the $5.75 million purse. He opened with rounds of 70, 64 and 72.... Scott's eagle putt was worth $191,667, the difference between the $621,000 he earned and the $429,333 he would have made with a three-way tie for second.... Padraig Harrington, the 2005 champion, closed with a 72 to finish at 2 over.... Loren Roberts, a three-time winner this year on the Champions Tour, closed with a 71 to finish 1 over in his fourth PGA Tour start of the season.