Honda Classic
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Booker falters on final holes; Singh wins Honda

In the end, it was the veteran who overcame the rookie, as well as the weather.

Vijay Singh watched PGA Tour rookie Eric Booker lose four strokes on the final three holes as the native of Fiji claimed a two-shot victory today at the $2.6 million Honda Classic.

Although swirling winds created havoc on the back nine, Singh managed a 3-under-par 69 to finish at 11-under 277. He collected $468,000 for winning his eighth career PGA Tour title.

Payne Stewart finished second at 9-under 279 after posting a 70, his second top-three finish in his last four events.

Franco tied Singh for the best round of the day with a 69. Dunakey shot a 70 and and O'Meara carded a 73.

Singh won $468,000 and extended his streak of sub-par rounds at Heron Bay to 12. He has been in contention several times in Florida Swing events over the past four years without winning, including a runner-up finish at Honda last year to Mark Calcavecchia.

Booker, who entered the final round with a two-stroke lead, could not deal with the wind, shooting a 77 to finish tied for third at 8-under 280 along with 1995 champion and Florida resident Mark O'Meara, Carlos Franco of Paraguay and PGA Tour rookie Doug Dunakey.

Booker, who had as much as a four-shot lead with nine holes to play, double-bogeyed the 10th and 16th holes, then bogeyed the last two to finish with a 77 and a tie for third at 8-under with Mark O'Meara (73), Tommy Tolles (77), Carlos Franco (69) and Doug Dunakey (70). Bradley Hughes, who was tied with Tolles for second entering the day, shot 80, including a 43 on the back nine.

Tee times were moved up to the early morning to avoid a severe weather system expected in south Florida in late afternoon. NBC planned to televise the tournament on a tape-delayed basis.


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