Former World Number 1 Vijay Singh got up-and-down for birdie with a putter from off the green on the final hole for a one-shot victory in the Toshiba Classic on Sunday.
The 55-year-old World Golf Hall of Fame member edged Tommy Tolles, Tom Pernice Jr. and Scott McCarron to win for the first time as an individual on the PGA TOUR Champions. He teamed with Carlos Franco to win last year’s Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge.
Singh, who was instrumental in the re-design of the Natadola Bay Championship Course, has played a limited schedule on PGA TOUR Champions while continuing to compete on the PGA TOUR, where he has 34 career victories and every Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways since it’s inception in 2014.
“I just put a lot of pressure on myself when I first came out here. Every time I teed up, you know, I was — I thought I had to win. The more I did that, the more I didn’t win, the harder it got,” Singh said. “This week was a little different. Last week I was sick with cold and flu, and this week kind of started out that way, so my expectation wasn’t very high. I just came out here, I said, ‘I’m just going to go out and play.’ ”
The Fijian closed with a 5-under 66 for a three-day total of 11-under 202 at Newport Beach Country Club.
“I always knew I was going to win out here, it was just a matter of time,” Singh said. “I was going to play a lot more this year anyway, so this is a good start and hopefully I’m going to win a few more.”
He got his stiffest challenge from Tolles, who was bogey-free before he three-putted the tough par-3 17th. Singh also bogeyed 17 to fall even with Tolles, whose chip from short of the green on the par-5 18th rolled 6 feet past. Tolles missed the birdie putt, opening the door for Singh playing behind him.
Tolles, winless in 233 career PGA TOUR starts, earned full status on PGA TOUR Champions at Q-School at the end of 2017. His best previous finish was a tie for 9th last week.
Pernice and McCarron both needed eagle on 18 to match Singh and closed with birdies.