LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Arnold Palmer couldn't have done it much better.
With a Sunday charge that would have made his namesake proud, Ryan Palmer birdied four straight holes down the stretch and closed with a 10-under 62 to win the Funai Classic at Disney by three shots over Vijay Singh and Briny Baird.
Palmer became the fifth PGA Tour rookie to win this year.
Not many paid attention to Palmer — no relation to the King — when he started the final round five shots out of the lead. No one could stop him at the end of a sunny day at Disney World, not even the No. 1 player in the world.
Along with two tap-in birdies set up by flawless iron play, Palmer chipped in from 40 feet on the 15th hole and made a 45-foot birdie on No. 17 that would have gone some 12 feet past the hole if it didn't catch the back of the cup.
His 62 was the lowest closing round by a winner on the PGA Tour since Phil Tataurangi had a 62 in Las Vegas two years ago, and it tied the Disney record previously held by Duffy Waldorf (2000) and John Huston (1992).
The 28-year-old Texan finished at 22-under 266 and earned $756,000 for his first PGA Tour victory. It allows him to play the Chrysler Championship next week in Tampa, where he might be able to sew up a spot in the Masters by finishing in the top 40 on the money list.
Singh, trying to win his fourth straight PGA Tour event, was relentless as ever. He made three straight birdies to get within two shots of the lead with four holes to play, but his aggressive play cost him.
The 41-year-old Fijian hit driver on the 16th and found a fairway bunker, a tough spot to get the ball close. His approach was 50 feet beyond the pin, and he three-putted for bogey to end his chances.
Singh closed with a 67 to earn $369,600 and now has over $9.8 million. He needs to earn $174,834 over the final two weeks to become golf's first $10 million man.
Baird, who shared the lead with Tom Lehman going into the final round, made a 15-foot birdie on the par-5 14th to get within two shots of Palmer. He was the last man who had a chance to catch him, but like Singh, his chances ended on the 16th when he missed the fairway to the right and three-putted from long range to make bogey.
Baird shot 70 and joined Singh at 269.
Lehman had at least a share of the 54-hole lead for the third straight week and got the same result — not enough birdies, the victim of someone else's great charge. He shot 72 and tied for sixth.
CHARLES SCHWAB CUP CHAMPIONSHIP: At Sonoma, Calif., Mark McNulty rallied from five strokes down in the final round, making five birdies in the last eight holes to beat Tom Kite by one stroke at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, the Champions Tour's season-ending event at Sonoma Golf Club.
McNulty shot a 6-under 66 to finish at 11-under 277, matching the day's best round.
Hale Irwin shot a 3 over to finish seventh at 284 but won his second Schwab Cup, awarded to the points leader in a seasonlong competition of 30 tournaments, and a $1 million annuity.
MADRID OPEN: At Madrid, Spain, Richard Sterne shot a 5-under 65 and rallied to win the $1.2 million Madrid Open by two shots, earning the 23-year-old South African his first European tour victory and playing rights on the continent for another year.
MICCOSUKEE CHAMPIONSHIP: D.J. Trahan shot a bogey-free 6-under 65 to capture his first Nationwide Tour victory at the Miccosukee Championship.
Trahan needed just 24 putts to finish at 16-under 268, topping third-round leader Nick Watney by two strokes. Watney shot a final-round 71.
SENIOR CLUB PRO CHAMPIONSHIP: At Port St. Lucie, Fla., Jim White of Lincoln Neb., played a flawless final round of golf of 5-under-par 67 at PGA Golf Club, to capture the 16th Callaway Golf PGA Senior Club Professional Championship title.
American Fork's Kim Thompson finished in a tie for 19th at 286 after shooting a final-round 77. By finishing in the top 35, Thompson qualified for the 2005 Senior PGA Championship at Laurel Valley Golf Club in Ligonier, Pa.