Israelson bags the Singapore Open with ease
SINGAPORE: American Bill Israelson pocketed his biggest cheque to date when he scored a runaway six-stroke win in the Singapore Open Championships at the Bukit Course yesterday with a 17-under four-round score of 267. Israelson, who had a three-stroke lead over his nearest rivals into the final round, was under no pressure at all when he carded a five-under 66, putting him six strokes ahead of runnerup Frankie Minoza of the Philippines on 273. Another American, Todd Hamilton, took the third place on 274. He had shared the lead with Israelson after the second round, but fell behind Saturday with a one over 72. Israelson, 36, said after his victory: "I have always wanted to win the Singapore Open since 1985. I finished runnerup that year and I am glad to have finally won here." His only other big win on the Asian circuit was the Thailand Open in 1985. In the final round Sunday, he had a flawless par 35 for the first nine and a five-under 31 coming home with an eagle on the 18th, four birdies and one bogey. "I knew that I was never going to be in any danger as long as I played it safe out there. I thought an even par score would have made it very difficult for the rest to catch me," said the American. Minoza, who narrowly lost the Singapore Open title in 1990 after a sudden-death playoff with fellow Filipino Antolin Fernando, produced a strong finish in the last two rounds with scores of 66 on each day. His final day card was 33 for each nine, with three birdies and one bogey going out and a three-under, three birdies and the rest to regulation on the home stretch. The golfers move to Hong Kong for the third leg of the Asian circuit. Final scores: 267 Bill Israelson (US) 66-67-68-66; 273 Frankie Minoza (Phi) 70-71-66-66; 274 Todd Hamilton (US) 68-65-72-69; 275 Tom Pernice (US) 70-69-67-69; 276 Hsieh Chin-hseng (Tai) 73-70-68-65; Lu Wen-ter (Tai) 68-69-71-68; Michael Clayton (Aust) 70-70-66-70; Park Nam-shin (S Korea) 71-65-70-70; Stewart Ginn (Aust) 69-67-68-72.