| Vijai Singh with the John Deere Classic trophy he won in Silvis on Monday. (AP)
Silvis (Illinois): Vijai Singh of Fiji completed a six-under-par 65 on Monday morning to win the rain-delayed John Deere Classic and move to the top of the PGA Tour money list.
Singh took his earnings to $5,702,507 for the season, passing Tiger Woods and Davis Love III as he kept alive his hopes of earning Player of the Year honour.
The Fijian’s four-stroke victory over Chris Riley, 1999 champion J.L. Lewis and Jonathan Byrd was his third win of the year. He had trailed Lewis by four shots after Friday’s second round. Singh has played in seven straight events in an effort to win the money race, which he leads for the first time since August 1998.
“If I can maintain the money ranking, that’s my goal ... to be able to win the money thing just once before I finish,” Singh said. “This will probably be the best opportunity that I get.” Singh becomes the fifth player with at least three wins this year, joining Woods (four), Love (four), Mike Weir (three) and Kenny Penny (three). He also collected his 14th top-10 finish of the year, tying Jim Furyk for the tour lead. Nine of those finishes have been in the top five.
“I’ve been asked so many times about Player of the Year,” Singh said. “Again, I say that I’ll have to think about that when the season is finished and see how it plays. I still think that the guys that won the majors, they’re still in the running.”
A storm that dropped more than three inches of rain in the area caused Saturday’s scheduled third round to be washed out. Officials tried to get in 36 holes on Sunday but darkness halted play at the TPC at Deere Run. None of the 65 players were able to complete the final round and the leaders got in only five holes. Singh gained two shots during the third round with three birdies, then birdied two of the first five holes in the final round before play was stopped. When played resumed on Monday morning, Singh and Lewis shared the lead, holding a one-shot advantage over Notah Begay, Riley and Paul Stankowski. Singh pulled away by playing the final 14 holes in four-under and completed 72 holes at 16-under 268.
“I didn’t force any putts to go in and made sure I didn’t leave myself any second putts, and that was the key for this win,” said Singh whose other wins this year came at the Phoenix Open and the Byron Nelson Championship.
Riley and Lewis struggled to shoot even par, while Byrd gained a share of second place by signing for a 68.