Cabrera outduels Vijay to win by one
Angel Cabrera of Argentina lifted the US$4 million Barclays Singapore Open title after fending off a spirited Vijay Singh of Fiji by one shot after a thrilling duel on Sunday.
The big-hitting Cabrera birdied the last hole on a sun-baked Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club to add to his US Open success, closing out Asia’s richest national Open with a one-over-par 72 and an eight-under-par 276 winning total.
Singh, who started the day six off the lead, mounted a brave title charge with a new course record 67 but came up just short at the end against a man who wowed the week’s record galleries of nearly 32,000 spectators with his power play.
Title holder Adam Scott of Australia settled for third place following a battling 71, finishing five behind the new champion while American rookie Jin Park enjoyed his biggest payday by finishing fourth in the star-studded Barclays Singapore Open with a closing 74.
Asia’s best finisher was burly Thai Prom Meesawat, who was sixth on 284 after a 71 while world number two Phil Mickelson tied for 23rd place following a 79 in the Asian Tour’s flagship tournament.
“I am very, very happy to win the Barclays Singapore Open. It is a world class event with some of the best players in the world like Vijay, Ernie (Els), Adam and Phil. It was an impressive line up and I’m very happy to have outplayed them to win the tournament,” said a relieved Cabrera, whose victory was his 17th career triumph and was worth a cool US$634,000.
“It was very tough out there today and very windy. I did what I needed to do to win. I knew that Vijay was putting together a good round and playing well. It was up to me to play well on the last two holes and I did that. I like challenges, I like tough courses. Hopefully I will see everyone again next year,” he added.
Singh reduced Cabrera’s overnight four-shot lead by half at the turn, thanks to an outward 32 which included an eagle and three birdies. The lead became one when the big Argentinean bogeyed the 10th.
Cabrera kept his nose ahead of Singh after both players bogeyed the 13th and Singh, playing in the group ahead of the overnight leader, tied the Argentinean with a birdie on the last after missing a 20-foot eagle attempt.
But after smashing another monster drive down the par five 18th fairway, Cabrera easily hit the green in two with a six iron and two putts later, he had his hands on the coveted Barclays Singapore Open trophy.
Singh tipped his cap to Cabrera. “I’m playing against a guy who is the US Open champion and you can’t expect him to make too many mistakes,” said the Fijian, a three-time Major champion. “I played well, made some good putts on the front nine and putted well all day. Just came up one short.”
Singh knew he needed to convert his eagle chance on the last hole to force a play-off as he expected Cabrera to pick up a shot on the last as well. “I looked back and I saw Angel hit it 400 yards down the middle (of the fairway)! He was going in with a medium or a short iron, so I knew he would make at least a birdie (on the last).
“I had a good line but misread it. I didn’t think it would break more than a ball but it broke more than a cup left. I gave it a good chance,” said Singh.
Scott was disappointed that he failed to strike it hot with his putter in his bid for a record third straight victory in the Barclays Singapore Open. “It was a tough weekend. My putter was pretty cold. I played okay, I gave myself enough chances but didn’t take advantage of it.
“The winds were blowing today and the pins were really tucked. With the greens being this firm it was difficult to get it near the hole,” said the world number six.
Park, playing in his rookie season on the Asian Tour, stood tall after completing the biggest week of his golfing life in Sentosa. “I am going to say I have never been so nervous for 36 holes of golf. I feel like I have run a marathon and just kind of mentally drained.
“I’m so relieved that I don’t have to hit another tee shot over the water or in front of thousands of people. It’s a big relief,” said Park, who earned US$197,200 to shoot up to 12th place on the Asian Tour’s UBS Order of Merit.
Mickelson, who fell ill during the third round, faded on the last day with three double bogeys and one triple bogey but vowed to return to the Barclays Singapore Open. “I loved it here.
“I’m definitely going to come back in the next few years. My family had a great time. I wanted to, obviously, play better. I love the golf course. I love how challenging it is and I’m looking forward to taking another shot at the Serapong Course,” said the American star.
Leading final scores (click here for full leaderboard and prize money):
276 - Angel Cabrera (ARG) 71-63-70-72
277 - Vijay Singh (FIJ) 70-70-70-67
281 - Adam Scott (AUS) 70-67-73-71
282 - Jin Park (USA) 66-70-72-74
283 - Lee Westwood (ENG) 71-67-71-74
284 - Prom Meesawat (THA) 72-69-72-71
285 - Tetsuji Hiratsuka (JPN) 68-71-73-73
286 - Mark Brown (NZL) 71-69-74-72, Kane Webber (AUS) 66-76-72-72, Shiv Kapur (IND) 73-70-69-74
287 - Azuma Yano (JPN) 71-72-72-72
288 - Chinarat Phadungsil (THA) 73-71-71-73, Gavin Flint (AUS) 66-72-74-76
289 - Zaw Moe (MYN) 70-76-70-73, K J Choi (KOR) 68-72-75-74, Keith Horne (RSA) 70-68-74-77, Anthony Kang (USA) 69-70-72-78
290 - Charles Howell III (USA) 76-66-75-73
291 - Gary Simpson (AUS) 69-71-77-74, Guido Van Der Valk (NLD) 71-71-74-75, Chapchai Nirat (THA) 70-74-71-76, Boonchu Ruangkit (THA) 72-71-70-78
November 4, 2007