GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP – Nobody in the history of the PGA Tour has enjoyed more success at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club than Vijay Singh.
Not even Tiger Woods.
Singh shot 4-under-par 68 Sunday for a total of 14-under 202 and a one-shot victory over Jeff Maggert in the $2-million Ally Challenge.
It was his fourth PGA Tour victory at Warwick Hills after winning three times in the old Buick Open. Not even Woods, a fellow three-time Buick Open champ, can match that success.
“I love coming here,” said Singh, who won the Buick Open in 1997, 2004 and 2005. “I love the golf course. For some reason, I come here and drive the ball very well. That’s the key to this golf course.
“Drive the ball in the fairway and you have a chance for birdie.”
It also doesn’t hurt when your closest competitor implodes.
Paul Goydos was clinging to a one-shot lead at 14-under-par when he hit his tee shot onto the green at the par-3 17th.
Then disaster struck.
Goydos was putting for a birdie that could have virtually wrapped up his first PGA Champions Tour victory in 130 starts before he needed a whopping five putts – yes, you read that correctly, five putts – to get his ball into the hole.
So instead of leaving the green with a birdie and two-shot lead over Singh, who had just finished the 18th, Goydos made double-bogey and fell into a tie for third at 12-under-par
“I left 18 and I looked up at the scoreboard and I said, ‘Wow, what happened?’” Singh recalled. “His name wasn’t at 14- or 13-under. Once I got into the clubhouse they said he had a disaster on 17.
“You don’t want to see anyone have a three-putt, or a four-putt or a five-putt. I don’t know how he did it.”
To paraphrase the late, great Seve Ballesteros, he miss, he miss, he miss, he miss, he make.
The victory was Singh’s fifth on the PGA Tour Champions circuit and first since 2018.
He took home $300,000. Or maybe we should say he took $300,000 to Hawaii, where he’s heading Monday.
Singh started the day tied for third, one shot behind co-leaders Goydos and Darren Clarke.
“I started off well,” Singh said. “I hit a pretty average drive on 1 but I got lucky on my second shot then knocked it close and made the putt.
“That gave me a really good feeling for rest of the day.”
Clarke’s chances for a victory were dashed when he also ran into trouble at the 17th.
His tee shot found a greenside bunker, he left his second on the fringe and after knocking his third shot onto the green he missed a short putt and took a double-bogey 5 to fall from a tie for second at 13-under into seventh place at 11-under.
Tim Petrovic (66), Stephen Ames (70) and Harrison Frazar (70) tied for third.
The opening round was postponed until Saturday, when there was a 36-hole marathon after Warwick Hills was left unplayable because of a huge storm Thursday night.
That’s nothing new to the players although they’re all in their 50s – Singh is 60 – and it was a bit easier by being able to ride in carts.
“It’s a grind,” said Singh, who won 34 times on the PGA Tour and is in the World Golf Hall of Fame. “You play 18 and then you have to go back and do it again. Once you play the first 18, the second 18 is easier.”
Defending champion Steve Stricker tied for eighth at 10-under after finishing with a final-round 68.