The name was familiar. So was the charge.
The highlight of Ryan Palmer's rookie season on the PGA Tour came seven months ago across town at Bay Hill, when he met Arnold Palmer for the first time. That changed yesterday in the Funai Classic, where the 28-year-old rookie made a name for himself with a comeback that would have made the King proud.
Palmer made five birdies on his first six holes to get into contention, then pulled away with four straight birdies down the stretch for a 10-under-par 62 and a three-shot victory over Vijay Singh and Briny Baird in Lake Buena, Fla.
"To beat the number one player in the world . . . who was pretty much unstoppable the last few weeks was just awesome," Palmer said. "That's awesome knowing I can go out and beat the best player in the world."
He got into the record books along the way.
Palmer's 62 tied the lowest closing round by a winner at Disney. He also became the fifth PGA Tour rookie to win this year, the most since the tour began keeping track in 1970.
"What a feeling," Palmer said. "I knew I could play. It was a matter of proving it to myself."
Not many paid attention to Palmer -- no relation to that other Palmer -- when the Texan started the final round five shots out of the lead.
Along with two tap-in birdies set up by flawless wedges, Palmer chipped in from 40 feet on No. 15 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.
He finished at 22-under 266, then had to wait for an hour to see if anyone could catch him.
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.
"I played well," Singh said. "My game is coming back. I'm in that mood again, so I'll be okay. Ryan played well, and you can't take a good round away."
Palmer earned $756,000 for his first PGA Tour victory. It allows him to play next week in the Chrysler Championship in Tampa (he was fifth alternate), where he can sew up a spot in the Masters by finishing in the top 40 on the money list, or maybe get into the Tour Championship for the top 30. Palmer went from No. 91 to No. 37 on the money list.
* CHAMPIONS TOUR: Mark McNulty rallied from five strokes down in the final round, making five birdies over the last eight holes to beat Tom Kite by one stroke at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Sonoma, Calif.
McNulty shot a 6-under 66 to finish at 11-under 277, matching the day's best round and sending Kite to two disheartening results at the Champions Tour's season-ending event.
In addition to losing the $435,000 winner's prize to tour rookie McNulty, Kite lost a golden opportunity to steal the Schwab Cup, awarded to the points leader in a season-long competition of 30 tournaments.
Hale Irwin also struggled in the final round, shooting 3 over and playing through a stiff back and neck to finish seventh at 284. But the 59-year-old veteran won his second Schwab Cup and a $1 million annuity with 3,427 points, beating Craig Stadler by 39 -- the closest finish yet in the four-year-old event.
* EUROPE: 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 tour victory and playing rights on the continent for another year.
The South African and Indian amateur championship winner in 2001, Sterne started the day a stroke behind co-leaders Darren Fichardt and Paul Broadhurst. Sterne had an eagle-3 on the 518-yard No. 4 for the second time in three days, and had a bogey-free round to finish at 18-under 266.