Singh 54-Hole Leader in Canada


2006 Canadian OpenMARKHAM, Ontario -- Vijay Singh dropped his driver in disgust at the top of his backswing, thinking he'd hit into the lake down the left side of the 11th fairway.
But instead of dropping in the water, the ball skipped safely along the bank and he walked off the par-5 hole with an easy two-putt birdie.
The big Fijian wasn't as fortunate with some errant shots to the right, making two late bogeys en route to a 3-under 68 and a one-stroke lead Saturday in the Canadian Open. He had a 12-under 201 total on Angus Glen's North Course.
'I'm kind of disappointed with the way I finished,' Singh said. 'I thought I played better than a 68. I made a lot of mistakes that I normally wouldn't, but that's the way golf is. You know, you get good breaks out there as well. I got up and down a few times ... and got away with a bad tee shot on 11.'
Singh, the 2004 winner at Glen Abbey in a playoff with Canadian star Mike Weir, won the Mercedes-Benz Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational early this year to push his PGA Tour victory total to 31. The three-time major champion has a tour-record 19 wins since turning 40 in February 2003.
'I've got to go out there tomorrow and play my game and make a lot of birdies and not make too many mistakes,' Singh said. 'I can't play conservative golf. There's so many birdie opportunities out there that I've got to attack the course, but smartly.'
Steve Allan and John Mallinger, the second-round leaders at 10 under, were second after a pair of 70s in windy and hot conditions Saturday.
First-round leader Hunter Mahan (67) was 10 under, and Jim Furyk, the winner last year in Hamilton, had a 69 to join Pat Perez (66) at 9 under.
Allan took a share of the lead to the par-4 18th, but closed with a bogey after his second shot bounced over the green.
'Overall, I played well, but didn't hole enough putts,' Allan said. 'You know, I made a couple nice little par putts, but that's about it. That's my deal for tomorrow. Hopefully, I can keep hitting the ball well and hole some more putts.'
The 33-year-old Australian is seeking his first PGA TOUR victory after winning the 1998 German Open and 2002 Australian Open.
'If I could pull off a win on the PGA TOUR, what better way to do it than with one of the best players,' Allan said. 'Nobody would expect me to beat Vijay, but I know I've got the game to play well.'
After nearly hitting into the lake on the par-5 11th, the 44-year-old Singh two-putted from the fringe to reach 13 under.
Singh bogeyed the par-4 13th after hammering a drive 330 yards through the fairway and into knee-deep fescue, then rebounded with an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-3 14th. He also bogeyed the par-4 16th after his approach shot settled in a difficult lie in the first cut of fescue, 25 yards right of the pin.
He was in danger of dropping another stroke on the par-3 17th after hitting into the deep right-front bunker, but blasted out to 4 feet and saved par. He two-putted for par on 18 after driving into the right rough.
'Hopefully, I can limit those mistakes tomorrow and finish the job,' Singh said.
Mahan, the Travelers Championship winner last month in Connecticut, matched the tournament record with a 62 on Thursday, but dropped back with a 74 on Friday.
'I felt a lot better today,' Mahan said.
Weir shot a 67 in the second group of the day to get to 5 under. The 2003 Masters champion opened with rounds of 71 and 70 to make the cut by a stroke.
'You want to be a little more aggressive, that's for sure,' Weir said. 'But the only way that you can do that is if you're hitting it well and that was the difference today. I was hitting well.'
Stephen Ames also was 5 under after a 69. The outspoken Canadian again criticized the course setup, saying the greens were too soft for a national championship.
'They are just exceptionally slow, very soft,' said Ames, a naturalized citizen from Trinidad and Tobago. 'I think they're trying to protect the golf course from something. But for a national open, I don't think it's the right spot.'
Weir also talked about the quirky greens.
'The greens are very difficult, there's no question,' Weir said. 'There's not many pin placements out here, so many little rolls and bumps for a public-play golf course. No. 6 was unbelievable, and 12 and 14 were incredible pins today.'
Singh offered his opinion, too.
'I've never seen pins on those slopey parts. Normally it's pretty flat,' Singh said. 'But this week they have managed to find some really difficult ones. ... They need to do that, otherwise scoring would be really, really low.'
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