Singh claims title as lake ends Huston challenge

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The Independent Online

Vijay Singh birdied five of the first six holes and shot an eight-under-par 63 yesterday to win the Phoenix Open for the second time.

The Fijian, who also won the event in 1995, finished on 261, three strokes ahead of runner-up John Huston.

It was the fifth straight win on the PGA Tour by an international player. Luke Donald and Singh started the string on the same weekend last season at the Southern Farm Bureau Classic and the Tour Championship. Ernie Els had two wins in Hawaii this year.

Huston bogeyed the 17th and closed with a 67, while third-round leader Harrison Frazar struggled to a 69 and tied for third at 265 with Robert Gamez (66), Retief Goosen (67) and Tim Petrovic (68).

Alex Cejka and Joe Durant finished five shots off the lead, followed by Phil Mickelson and Mike Weir at 267. Mickelson and Cejka carded 64s, but were too far back at the start to make a charge. Defending champion Chris DiMarco went 15 under for the tournament – only two shots worse than his winning 267 in 2002 – but was eight behind.

Singh played an excellent approach game, reaching 22 under on the 11th hole, where his seventh birdie of the day required a 12-foot, uphill putt.

Huston kept up the pressure but missed an early chance to close the gap when he bogeyed the 12th, keeping him three strokes off the lead.

The issue was settled on the 17th when Huston hooked his tee shot, the ball landing in a lake that guards the top of the green.