| Chad Campbell with his trophy after winning the PGA Tour Championship in Houston on Sunday. (AFP)
Houston: Chad Campbell became the first player to make the Tour Championship his first PGA Tour victory when the 29-year-old Texan cruised to a three-shot win over Charles Howell III on Sunday.
Vijai Singh, who tied for fifth with Davis Love III on 276, ended Tiger Woods’ four-year reign as the Tour’s top money winner.
The money title is the first of his career for the 40-year-old Fijian. Woods struggled to a three-over 74 for 285 and was 26th in the 31-player field.
Campbell, who joined the Tour in 2002, finished on 16-under 268 after a closing 68. South Africa’s Retief Goosen, the winner of last week’s Chrysler Championship, was third on 272 and Chris Riley fourth, another shot back.
If Woods was despondent over surrendering the money title, he hid it well.
“It’s happened in the past and I’m sure it will happen again,” the world No. 1 said after finishing second with winnings of $6,673,413, well behind Singh’s $7,573,907.
“It’s probably the biggest accomplishment I’ve had in my career, especially at my age,” said the Florida-based Singh, who played nine more tournaments than Woods, 27 to 18. It wasn’t my goal when I started off (the year) but as the year got on and I started playing better and better, that was my goal.”
While Woods lost the money title, he easily clinched the Vardon Trophy for the fifth consecutive year, recording a stroke average of 68.41 to Singh’s 68.65.
Woods also won more tournaments than Singh, five to four, and has a good chance of winning the Player of the Year award voted by the players.
Campbell finally landed the win that has eluded him since joining the PGA Tour in 2002 when he won three events on the Nationwide Tour to receive promotion to the main circuit.
After shooting a 10-under 61 in the third round to take a one-shot lead over Howell, Campbell was aware of the difficult task he had in front of him.
“Obviously, after yesterday, it was kind of hard to follow up a good round with another good round,” Campbell said.
He raced to the turn in a five-under 31 to charge five shots clear of Howell, making him 15-under over a 27-hole stretch. “I know yesterday, like I said, that was probably the best round of golf I’ve ever played,” Campbell said.