Singh answers critics with victory at Byron Nelson
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2003 EDS Byron Nelson Championship | Wrap | 19 May 2003
Vijay Singh displayed the remarkable constitution that is so much his trademark by winning this week’s EDS Byron Nelson Championship.
That constitution had been sorely tested this week following remarks he reportedly made during an interview with the Associated Press last Sunday. Those remarks related to the participation of Annika Sorenstam in this coming week’s Bank of America Colonial event in Fort Worth but he answered all the criticism in the best possible fashion by winning the event by two shots from Nick Price. Immediately following his win Singh announced that he would withdraw from the Colonial Tournament next week. Some may consider that a further indication of Singh’s dissatisfaction with the involvement of Sorenstam but that would be reading too much into it. He has indicated that he wants to be at the memorial for the late IMG head Mark McCormack on Wednesday and has something that he would like to do with his son on Thursday. He also indicated that by playing this coming week at the Memorial he would have played six straights weeks before a break at the Kemper which is hardly the ideal lead up to the US Open the week following the Kemper Open. He has done the right thing.
For Singh this was his second win of the year, takes his season’s earnings to $US2,929,000 and is now in fourth place behind Love, Weir and Woods. He led this event from early in the second round and although Price got ahead of him through fourteen holes today, the now forty year old Fijian bounced back with birdies at fifteen and sixteen to regain a lead that he would not then let go.
Nick Price continued a fine run of form for him of late. His fifth place last week at the Wachovia Championship had come after a very good start to the year where he had good finishes in events such as the Nissan and Accenture Match Play. When he reached six under for the day and fourteen under for the tournament it looked as if his love affair with this particular event may just continue but a three putt bogey on the fifteenth and a failure to secure birdie at the reachable sixteenth, saw him fall behind Singh and that was effectively the ed of his challenge for the title. Still he managed to make a very good par at the last after a bad drive and his second place was worth $US604,800 taking him to 13th place on the money list with $US1,343,000.
Alone in third was Robert Allenby, who after four weeks away from the game returned with a very strong performance. When he reached four under for the day through ten holes and eleven under for the tournament, he appeared a real threat to those playing behind but ahead on the leaderboard. Although a bogey at the twelfth was followed by birdies at the thirteenth and fourteenth, he was forced to settle for third although I am sure he will have been very pleased with his effort. It was an outstanding finish for him, in fact his best since his second place at his favourite event the Pennsylvania Classic last year. The $US380,000 won’t go astray either.
Scott Verplank who along with Price and Allenby produced final round 65’s, rounded out the top four.
Peter Lonard continued his solid form with a final round 69 to finish inside the top ten for the first time this year in a strokeplay event. He did make the top four at the Accenture but this was his best event outside of that and if indeed there was any concern about playing privileges for next year they are now well and truly gone. His cheque $US140,000 has him at more than $US700,00 for the year and well clear of such concerns, such as making the top one twenty five.
Anthony Painter is in his rookie season on the USPGA Tour and his 14th place finish follows six missed cuts in a row. In ten start this year he had earned just $65,000 but his performance here earns him $US95,000 and he is on his way to perhaps bigger and better things.
John Senden was 36th, Greg Chalmers 60th, Greg Norman 65th and James Mclean 79th.
The USPGA Tour now heads to Fort Worth for the Bank of America Colonial.