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For Singh, Memorial win is worth wait Rain-delayed title is his first in 28 months

THE BALTIMORE SUN

DUBLIN, Ohio -- Vijay Singh had waited two years for this, so an extra day was just fine.

After all, Singh is of Indian ancestry and had to start living up to his first name, which means "Victory" in the Hindi language.

Singh ended 28 months of PGA Tour frustration yesterday by winning the rain-shortened Memorial at Muirfield Village Golf Club.

Singh, a native of Fiji, eagled his first hole and went on to complete a three-day third round with a score of 5-under 67.

That gave him a 54-hole score of 14-under 202, which was two strokes better than runners-up Greg Norman and Jim Furyk.

"I'm really, really pleased I got this out of the way. I haven't won in two years," said Singh, 34, who has been on tour since 1993. "This is the biggest win in my whole career. It takes the pressure off."

Singh's previous victory was in the Phoenix Open in January 1995.

He won the Memorial by surviving a weather-marred third round that began Saturday and ended 11: 30 a.m. yesterday.

"I don't mind winning here if takes me 72 hours," quipped Singh, whose $342,000 check was the biggest of his career.

Singh has taken a twisting and turning path to success.

He played outside the United States for 10 years early in his career before being invited to play in tour events in 1992 and went on to win the 1993 and 1995 Buick Opens in addition to his win in Phoenix. Then came the victory drought -- and its end -- as Singh persevered on the one tour he loves most.

"I won in South Africa this year, but it's nothing like this," Singh said. "Winning in the U.S. is big."

Singh began the day tied for the lead with Scott Hoch at 12-under with eight holes to play. His first shot of the day proved to be his most important. He had teed off on the 539-yard, par-5 No. 11 Sunday before play was suspended.

Yesterday -- overcast with no rain -- he picked up from there and put a 3-wood from 231 yards to within 18 inches. He made the putt for an eagle and a two-shot edge.

"The [rain] break came at the perfect time. I don't think I would have reached the green if I went for it [Sunday]," he said. "I was going for it today it came out like a dream."

NOTES: Tiger Woods finished at 5-over-par 221, tied for 67th place. It was the worst PGA Tour tournament of his career. Six others tied with Woods, and only John Daly (227) had a higher score. On Sunday, Woods took nine strokes to finish the par-4 No. 3. Woods will skip this week's Kemper Open before playing next week in the U.S. Open.

Pub Date: 6/03/97

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