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Steady Goosen captures crown
- Florida golf l Vijai 2nd but well on course for money title

Palm Harbor (Florida): Retief Goosen fired a steady final round one-under-par 70 to win the Chrysler Championship by three strokes on Sunday.

The South African ended the event on 12-under 272 with Fiji’s Vijai Singh finishing alone in second. Briny Baird took third place on 276, while Chad Campbell and Tim Petrovic tied for fourth on 278.

Leading Baird by a stroke after three rounds, Goosen said on Saturday he expected his primary competition over the final 18 holes to come from Singh, who was a further shot back.

His prediction proved correct, as the two battled into the back nine before Goosen was able to pull away. After making birdie on the tenth hole, Goosen held a three-shot advantage but Singh came right back with birdies on the next two holes to trim that margin to one.

However, Goosen birdied both the 13th and 14th while Singh could manage only pars and one bogey over the final six holes.

“It’s starting to be a great year now for me,” Goosen said. “It was a bit of a slow start and so on, but it’s been a great year, the birth of our first child, now a win in Europe and a win over here. It’s turning out to be a very good year.”

Goosen, who won the Lancome Trophy on the European Tour in mid-September, said his play in the final round was not quite as good as the previous three rounds.

“I felt fairly comfortable,” he said. “I know I wasn’t hitting the ball as well as I would like to. But I have a good feel for the course, and that’s what it all comes down to.

“You have got to feel comfortable when you stand over the ball.

Singh, with four victories this season, did not sound too unhappy with his runner-up finish. “I played my best,” he added.

“Retief played better. I’m really happy to finish second, but I am a little disappointed I didn’t win. I thought I had a good chance,” he said.

The world No. 2 Singh could have clinched the PGA Tour money title over Tiger Woods by winning this title but with earnings of $7,345,907, the Fijian has made it very difficult for the world No. 1 to overtake him.

In the upcoming Tour Championship, Woods must win and Singh finish fourth or worse.

If Singh places no lower than a tie for third, the earnings title belongs to him no matter what Woods does.

The Fijian has 17 top-10 finishes for the season, the most since Woods had the same number in 2000.

In addition, Singh has placed either first or second in last four tournaments and has finished no worse than eighth in ten of his last 11 events.

The 40-year-old Singh said he was looking forward to battling Woods for the money title, and possibly Player of the Year honours, on Thursday.

“It will be a good tournament,” he said. “He raised the bar for everybody a few years ago. I have been working hard physically on my golf. I think everybody’s game has risen to the next level, and I just kind of rose with it.

“I’m playing better than I have before. It’s easier to go out there and hit the ball. It feels good, and I am enjoying playing the game of golf.”

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