Singh Putts His Way to Three-Stroke Lead
Vijay Singh was in familiar territory Saturday.
With an 80-foot eagle putt that left him feeling as if he were in the Twilight Zone, Singh blew away Tiger Woods and the rest of his challengers to build a three-stroke lead in the Tour Championship at Atlanta.
It was the third consecutive time Singh has held at least a share of the 54-hole lead at East Lake, only this time he has some breathing room.
“It’s a lot better than going out with a one-shot lead,” Singh said after a five-under-par 65 gave him a comfortable margin over Charles Howell III.
Singh can thank No. 15 for that, a par five with a green he knows all too well.
Clinging to a one-stroke lead over Woods, Singh reached the 495-yard uphill hole with a five iron that stopped 80 feet beyond the flag.
“It was weird, because where my ball was, that’s where the pin was yesterday,” he said. “And where the pin was, my ball was there yesterday.”
He three-putted for par Friday. He made the eagle putt Saturday.
“I knew the line,” Singh said with a laugh. “I was glad to see it go in.”
Singh was at nine-under 201 and can only hope his third chance at winning the season-ending Tour Championship is successful.
His most probable challenge figures to come from Howell, who kept in the hunt with an aggressive birdie on No. 17 for a 69, making him the only player in the 30-man field to break par at East Lake in all three rounds.
Sweden’s Carin Koch defeated Michele Redmen, 2 and 1, to advance to the semifinals of the World Ladies Match Play Championship at Narita, Japan.
Koch will face South Korea’s Grace Park in the semifinals. Park beat Japan’s Yuri Fudoh, 6 and 5, on the wind-swept Narita Golf Club course.
In the other quarterfinals, South Korea’s Hee-Won Han beat Rosie Jones, 5 and 4, and Japan’s Midori Yoneyama defeated Kelly Robbins, 4 and 3.
English rookie Luke Donald birdied three of the last four holes for a five-under 67 and a one-stroke lead in the Southern Farm Bureau Classic at Madison, Miss.
The former NCAA champion from Northwestern had a 15-under 201 for the first 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.
Deane Pappas was in second place at 202 after a 68 and Brad Elder was in third place at 203 after an up-and-down 71.
Top-ranked Lleyton Hewitt held on to beat Paradorn Srichaphan, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, and Marat Safin had 13 aces to defeat Carlos Moya, 7-5, 7-6 (4) in the semifinals of the Paris Masters.
Spain and Slovakia split the opening singles matches in the Fed Cup at Maspalomas, Canary Islands.
Conchita Martinez gave Spain a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series by beating Janette Husarova, 6-4, 7-6 (6), but Daniela Hantuchova tied it for Slovakia by defeating Magui Serna, 6-2, 6-1.
The Milwaukee Brewers hired former major league catcher Butch Wynegar as batting coach, former major league pitcher Mike Maddux as pitching coach and rehired Bill Castro as bullpen coach under new Manager Ned Yost.
Stanford won the men’s and women’s Pacific 10 Conference cross-country championships at Brookside Country Club in Pasadena. UCLA finished eighth in the men’s competition. In the women’s event, UCLA was fourth and USC was seventh. Lena Nilsson of UCLA finished third in the 6,000 meters with a time of 20:01.
Oracle of San Francisco beat Le Defi of France and Victory Challenge of Sweden today in the America’s Cup challenger series off Auckland, New Zealand.
Oracle and OneWorld of Seattle are tied with 12 points, but Oracle is in second place because it defeated OneWorld in the second round. Switzerland’s Alinghi leads the series.