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Franco/Singh team wins Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf

RIDGEDALE, Mo. (AP) -- Carlos Franco and Vijay Singh teamed to shoot a course-record 12-under par on Sunday to rally from seven shots behind and win the PGA TOUR Champions' Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge.

Franco and Singh finished at 15 under overall over the rain-shortened 36-hole tournament at the par-3 Top of the Rock course, holding off a trio of teams that finished a stroke back.

The win is the first on the PGA TOUR Champions for Singh, and it's the second for Franco.

Among those who finished at 14 under were first-round leaders Jeff Sluman and Fred Funk, the winners of the tournament in 2014. The duo opened the tournament with a then-course record 10 under on Saturday and finished tied for second with the teams of Paul Goydos and Kevin Sutherland and Corey Pavin and Duffy Waldorf.

After heavy rain washed out Friday's opening round and cold and misty conditions plagued Saturday, the weather cleared on Sunday -- much to the delight of Franco and Singh.

Playing nine holes of modified alternate shot and nine of better ball, the two began the day seven shots behind Sluman and Funk. However, they opened with seven birdies on their opening nine and finished the course-record 42 with birdies on four of their final five holes, including the 18th.

"I love playing with Carlos," Singh said. "I've known him for a long time, and if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here, so I'd like to thank Carlos."

Pavin had a 15-foot putt on the 18th that would have tied for the lead, but it stayed left of the hole.

Sluman birdied the 17th for a fifth birdie in a row for him and Funk to close within a shot of the lead. However, Funk narrowly missed a lengthy birdie putt on the 18th, and Sluman's shot from just off the green came up well short to secure the victory for Franco and Singh.

"I (came) in prepared this week, because I know my partner is a strong player," Franco said. "He gave me big help this week, and I gave him a bit of help, too, and I'm so happy."

WINNER'S NOTES

Carlos Franco

  • Wins his second PGA TOUR Champions title in the last eight months. He won the 2016 Shaw Charity Classic last September. Posted rounds of 63-63 and his 14-under-par score of 126 on the weekend was the lowest final two rounds on Tour in 2016.
  • Was a four-time winner on the PGA TOUR, including two wins in New Orleans and two wins in Milwaukee.
  • Member of two Presidents Cup teams in 1998 and 2000.
  • Was the PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year in 1999. Is one of two players to have won Rookie of the Year honors and claim a PGA TOUR Champions title, joining Woody Austin.

Vijay Singh

  • Claims his first victory on PGA TOUR Champions in his 13th start.
  • His best previous finish was a T3 at the 2015 Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach.
  • Wins a PGA TOUR event for the first time since claiming the Deutsche Bank Championship in September, 2008, a span of 8 years, 7 months, 22 days.
  • The World Golf Hall of Famer was a 34-time winner on PGA TOUR, including the 2000 Masters Tournament and the 2004 PGA Championship.
  • The Fiji native was an eight-time member of the International Team in the Presidents Cup.
  • With his victory, he earns a two-year exemption into the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.
  • He becomes the sixth player to win his first Tour event in this tournament, joining Andy North (2008), Tom Lehman (2009), Mark O’Meara (2010), Billy Andrade (2015), Joe Durant (2015).

Tournament Notes

  • The winning score by Carlos Franco and Vijay Singh of 12-under-par 42 was the lowest 18-hole score in tournament history. Fred Funk and Jeff Sluman had broken the previous record of 9-under-par 45 by Billy Andrade and Joe Durant in 2015 a day earlier with a 10-under-par 44.
  • Carlos Franco and Vijay Singh also set a new mark for the lowest front nine score with a 7-under-par 20 on the front nine, breaking the previous mark of 5-under-par 22 by four teams with Tom Watson and Andy North being the most recent on Saturday.
  • Carlos Franco and Vijay Singh also had 12 birdies en route to their 42. That was a new tournament record. Fred Funk and Jeff Sluman posted a record 10 birdies on Saturday.
  • Kenny Perry and Scott Hoch fired a 6-under-par 21 on the back nine on Sunday, tying the best back nine score set in 2016 by Tom Jenkins and Jerry Smith. Hoch and Perry had birdies on five of their final six holes.
  • First-round leaders Fred Funk and Jeff Sluman made a spirited run on the back nine, but fell one short. After finishing one-over-par on the front nine, the pair climbed within one shot of Carlos Franco and Vijay Singh with five consecutive birdies on Nos. 13-17, but were unable to convert birdie opportunities at No. 18, finishing tied for second.
  • Carlos Franco and Vijay Singh shared honors for the most birdies in the event with Fred Funk and Jeff Sluman. Each team had 16.
  • Miguel Angel Jimenez and partner Jose Maria Olazabal turned in a nice performance in their first appearance in the tournament. The pair finished T 8 helped by a final-round 8-under-par 46.
  • Michael Allen, who won the 2016 Champions Division title with Woody Austin, finished T13. He and partner John Daly rebounded from a 2-under-par 52 on Saturday with an 8-under-par 46 on Sunday.
  • Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly will remain teammates for another week, competing in the Zurich Classic in New Orleans next week. The duo finished T8 in their first start in this event. Rocco Mediate will also compete at the Zurich Classic, teaming with Spencer Levin.
  • Jack Nicklaus and Kid Rock won The Legends of Golf Skins Shootout.