Els Goosen Close in on Singh
Els birdied three holes and eagled another as the second round resumed at Augusta National, pushing him to 7-under-par Saturday morning.
Goosen, the U.S. Open champion, knocked a shot into the water at the par-5 13th and wound up taking bogey on a hole that usually provides at least a birdie chance.
But the South African bounced right back with birdies at Nos. 14 and 15, making him 7-under, too.
Singh, the 2000 Masters winner, put himself right where he wants to be in pursuit of a second green jacket. He finished his round Friday before the rains struck, overpowering the back nine for a 7-under 65, his best round ever in the tourney.
'I just feel like I'm playing a lot better now than I did two years ago,'' Singh said. ``That in itself should carry me through, if I keep playing the same way.''
One thing about Singh: It's not very likely he'll tumble backward this weekend. The 39-year-old Fijian has won seven out of the 14 times he's held the lead going into the weekend, and he has never finished lower than fourth.
The rest of the field will have to chase down this consummate front-runner.
A deluge forced postponement of the second round with 38 players still on the course Friday. The rain lasted into Saturday morning, pushing back the scheduled 7:45 a.m. restart by another 1 hour, 20
The stormy weather created some improbable scenes at pristine Augusta National. Pine straw covered the walking paths across the fairway, and muddy sand was spread between the clubhouse and the 18th hole.
``It's a shame to see the course so destroyed,'' Jerry Kelly said.
Still, thousands of fans turned out to see Arnold Palmer's farewell tour. He returned Saturday to play his final six holes.
``The sun's going to be shining in a little bit,'' Palmer said to the gallery.
``He wishes,'' a patron quipped.
Palmer was playing his 147th and final round at the Masters, saying goodbye to an army of fans who saluted the four-time champion on just about every step around the course.
The King made it to the weekend in his 48th Masters, even though his mammoth score - 28-over with one hole to play - was no longer being posted on the boards.
It didn't matter.
'This place won't be the same without him,'' two-time winner Ben Crenshaw said.
Defending champion Tiger Woods was among those who had to go back on the course to finish the second round Saturday. He had birdies at the 13th and 15th holes to get to 5-under, four strokes behind Singh.
Woods is trying to become only the third player to repeat as Masters champion. Singh, on the other hand, came in with low expectations.
``I didn't have any pressure on me,'' Singh said. ``All the talk was about the other guys. I thought, 'That's great. I'm just going to go out there and play my game.'''
Singh's round, which featured an eagle and two birdies over the final four holes, was his best score at the Masters, but not his best at Augusta National.
Curious about the sweeping changes that added 285 yards, Singh got his first look at revamped Augusta a month ago during a practice round. He made 10 birdies in a round of 63.
``You shoot a low number like that on a practice day and you say, 'Wow! That wasn't that difficult.' It kind of eased my mind a
little,'' he said.
International players dominated the leaderboard on the new Augusta, which didn't get a chance to strike back at all those guys who used to reach for their wedges on the par-4s.
The rain softened those notorious greens, though it also filled the fairways with puddles in the morning and small rivers in the afternoon.
``I think the golf course is playing as susceptible to birdies as it can,'' said Phil Mickelson, one of the few Americans in contention at 141. ``It is understandable that Vijay could shoot 65.''
Among those who finished Friday, Ireland's Padraig Harrington (70), Spain's Sergio Garcia (71) and Argentina's Angel Cabrera (71) were at 139 overall.
Mickelson was among eight players who had a share of the lead at one point Friday, although his four birdies were offset by four bogeys in a round of 72 that left him six strokes off the lead.
Singh was helped by the soft, calm conditions, and by his playing partner, Thomas Bjorn of Denmark, who set a Masters record by making birdies on his first five holes.
``It's good to play with somebody who is making so many birdies,'' Singh said. ``It kind of carries you along a little bit.''
Bjorn finished with a 67 and was in the group at 141, along with Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain, who shot a 71.
Full Coverage from the Masters Tournament
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18