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Tour Championship
East Lake Golf Club
Atlanta, Georgia
29th October - 1st November 1998

Par 70 Prize Money $4.0 million

Final Round Report

Sutton sinks Singh with birdie in playoff

Associated Press

Atlanta, Georgia, 1st November 1998 - Hal Sutton put together a comeback today in The Tour Championship that was almost as gratifying as his journey back from rock bottom in his career.

Sutton saved par from a bunker on the 72nd hole to force a playoff, then hit a 4-wood within 6 feet for birdie on the par-3 18th to beat Vijay Singh on the first extra hole and win $720,000 from the richest purse ($4 million) on the PGA Tour.

But this was about more than just money.

"That check is just a byproduct of what you work hard for,'' Sutton said. "Being able to feel what you feel on that 18th hole in that playoff, that's what it's all about.

"I went from really feeling embarrassed to hit balls on the range with some of the better players in the world to sitting here right now talking about winning this tournament.''

The victory gave Sutton enough points to move into 10th place in the Presidents Cup standings, earning him a berth on the U.S. team for the biennial matches against an International team next month in Australia.

It also erased any doubts that Sutton, once dogged by expectations of becoming the next Jack Nicklaus, is still capable of beating the best.

"Where I'm coming from and where I'm sitting now is so far apart," said Sutton, who beat Nicklaus to win the 1983 PGA Championship but had to use a one-time exemption just to stay on tour 10 years later. "It's been a long, hard battle. When I stand on the tee and I look down the fairway, I see the fairway. When I was at rock bottom, all I could see was the rough.

"I think I'm back now.''

Sutton now has 10 career victories, inclduing the Westin Texas Open in late September. He three-putted just once all week played the last five holes in 1-under to finish with an even-par 70. He and Singh, who shot 71, both finished at 6-under-par 274 at East Lake Golf Club, where only four players finished under par.

It was the sixth playoff in the 12-year history of The Tour Championship but the first since Mark McCumber beat Fuzzy Zoeller in 1994. For Singh, it was the first time he had lost a playoff in four tries.

"Hal hit a hell of a shot in there,'' Singh said. "He didn't make too many mistakes. That's why he's the champion.''

Jim Furyk took a bogey from the greenside rough on the last hole and finished one stroke out of the playoff at 275, tied for third with Jesper Parnevik.

Defending champion David Duval shot a 31 on the back nine for a 68. He tied for eighth but, more importantly, beat out Tiger Woods for the Vardon Trophy, awarded for the lowest scoring average on tour. Duval also won the money title.

For Singh, bidding to become the first wire-to-wire winner in The Tour Championship since Tom Watson in 1987, it was his tournament to lose.

Twice over the last three holes, he put his approach shots over the greena and above the hole -- a cardinal sin on an East Lake course where the greens were so fast it was like putting on concrete. He saved par on No. 16 with a superb chip to 3 feet, but wasn't so lucky on the 72nd hole.

His 3-iron to the back-right pin position hit hard and bounded off the green, disappearing into the rough. It was similar to what he faced on the 16th, only the green ran away from him and a ridge was just 12 feet on the other side of the hole.

Final Round Scores

Third Round

Second Round

First Round