Singh 18 Holes from Breaking Drought
'They have to catch me. I'm not going to back off,' Singh said.
He has put together the best opening three rounds ever at the TPC at The Woodlands, shooting a 6-under-par 66 Saturday for a three-stroke lead over Darren Clarke.
At 18-under 198, Singh matched the tournament record for relation to par set by Curtis Strange in his 1980 victory at the par-71 Woodlands Country Club.
'It's Vijay's tournament to lose,' Jose Maria Olazabal said after a 64 left him in third place, five shots back. 'If he keeps on playing the way he's doing at the moment, I don't think we have much of a chance to beat him.'
Singh, looking for his first PGA Tour victory since the 2000 Masters, was nearly flawless for a third consecutive day.
Northern Ireland's Clarke, who trailed Singh by two shots going into Saturday, had a 67, but lost ground to the leader.
'Vijay kept flagging it,' he said. 'I'm quite pleased to have a chance. I think with the way Vijay's playing, if he keeps playing like that, he's going to be very, very difficult to catch.'
Olazabal of Spain was next at 203. He had nine birdies in his 64, his best round of the year and the lowest round of the tournament.
Other international players in contention included Japan's Shigeki Maruyama at 11-under after a 66. That was one shot better than South Africa's Rory Sabbatini, who also had a 66, and Australia's Greg Norman, whose second consecutive 68 left him eight shots off the lead.
Brandt Jobe, who lives near Dallas, had a 69 and was tied with Maruyama. His 205 made him the lowest-scoring American-born player.
Singh parred the first three holes, then started a birdie barrage, collecting six over the next eight holes. His two-putt for birdie at the island green 13th hole put him at 19-under and six shots ahead.
But at the par-3 No. 14, he went 20 yards past the pin and over a bunker and he settled for a bogey -- his first since a bogey at the same hole in the opening round Thursday. Those are his only bogeys of the tournament. He finished the round with four consecutive pars.
'I thought I left a few out there but I guess we all do,' Singh said. 'I was very aggressive... I just have to focus on what I'm doing and not what the rest of the guys are doing and take the opportunities that I can. My game plan (Sunday) will be just think about what I'm doing and nobody else. Everything will be OK, I think.'
Clarke started with five consecutive pars and was trailing his playing partner by six shots when Singh ran into trouble at the 14th.
'I just had to keep on doing what I was doing,' Clarke said. 'I was still giving myself opportunities at the same time he was hitting it in close.
'I just hung in there and made a couple of birdies toward the end to close the gap.'
Full-field scores from the Shell Houston Open
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