Singh Is Best in Western by Two After Third Round

From Staff and Wire Reports

Vijay Singh is one of those players who's always peeking at the leaderboard, and he likes what he sees now.

Singh shot a 65 Saturday at Lemont, Ill., to take a two-shot lead in the Western Open with a 15-under-par 201 after the third round on Cog Hill's Dubsdread course.

Greg Kraft, the first-round leader, shot a 66 and was two strokes back at 13-under 203 in the $2.2-million event. Joe Durant, the leader after the second round, was at 205 after shooting a 70.

"I've got a four-stroke cushion on third place. I can't worry about that too much," Singh said. "I'll just try to hit lots of fairways and greens and let my putter do the rest. I'm not going to push anything."

U.S. Open winner Lee Janzen was five strokes back at 206 after a 69.

It was another steamy day at Cog Hill, with the temperature in the upper 90s and humidity making it feel like it was 107. After three days of playing in oppressive heat, the players have adjusted as best they can.

But the caddies, lugging around heavy bags for 4 1/2 hours, are struggling. Mark Hensel, Kraft's caddie, collapsed with heat stroke after the 17th hole. A marshal carried Kraft's bag the last hole and Hensel was taken to a hospital for IV fluids. He's expected to be back today.

"He said, 'I can make it, I just can't think,' " Kraft said. "This is just a golf tournament. His health is more important."


Annika Sorenstam, warming up for the U.S. Open next week, shot a course record-tying 65 to take the second-round lead in the ShopRite LPGA Classic at 11-under 131.

Sorenstam had only one bogey on the Bay Course at the Seaview Marriott Resort at Absecon, N.J., and moved two strokes ahead of Juli Inkster.


Mike McCullough, seeking his first win in an official PGA Tour event, shot a seven-under 65 to take a one-stroke over Jay Sigel after two rounds of the senior tour's $1.1-million Cadillac NFL Classic at Clifton, N.J.

"A lot of people have been in position to be winners and some people have pulled it off," said McCullough, who is at 10-under 134. "I consider myself a winner, anyway."


Ed Cuff of Temecula overpowered Bobby Rodger of Redlands, 5 and 4, and won the California Amateur at Pebble Beach.

Auto Racing

Billy Boat turned in a record speed on his final lap for the No. 1 qualifying position for today's IRL New England 200 at Loudon, N.H.

Boat, starting 26th, cruised around the one-mile oval at the New Hampshire International Speedway in 162.145 mph on his second lap. That was more than enough to bump Jeff Ward to second at 161.089.

Mika Hakkinen was the fastest qualifier for the French Grand Prix at Magny Cours. If he follows form, he will win today's Formula One race.

Hakkinen was the fastest qualifier four times earlier this season, and each time he followed up by winning the race in his McLaren-Mercedes.

Michael Schumacher qualified for the starting spot next to Hakkinen, ahead of Hakkinen's teammate, David Coulthard.

Hakkinen was clocked in 1 minute 14.929 seconds on the 2.641-mile Magny Cours circuit to average 126.91 mph.

Kenny Bernstein, Tim Wilkerson, Warren Johnson and Matt Hines are the leaders in their respective categories entering today's final eliminations in NHRA's second annual Sears Craftsman Nationals at Madison, Ill.


In a bid to increase safety, emphasize pitching and draw more professional scouts, the National Baseball Congress (NBC) based in Wichita, Kan., is exploring the possibility of using wooden bats instead of aluminum.

The first results were mixed. Of the nine amateur leagues that responded, three supported the change and three had budgetary concerns. The others took a wait-and-see attitude.

Russia's Larisa Mikhaylova ran the fastest women's 800 meters of the season in 1 minute 58.01 seconds in the first day of the European Cup track meet at St. Petersburg, Russia.

Free-agent safety Myron Bell signed a two-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. Bell played the past four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Cindy Shenberger of Corona won the 1998 women's skeet shooting championship at Atlanta.

Pam Schuster of Northridge pedaled away from the pack early and held on despite a late challenge and high temperatures to win her first championship in the U.S. Elite National Road Race at Cincinnati.

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