Singh Oberholser Share Pebble Lead

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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- The sun-splashed scenery at Pebble Beach was never more spectacular.
 
Vijay Singh made sure the golf was worth watching, too.
 
Singh recovered from a rugged start by unleashing five birdies in a six-hole stretch Saturday for a 4-under 68 that gave him a share of the lead with Arron Oberholser in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
 
'I always enjoy the scenery here, the golf course is great and you cannot ask for a better place to play golf and win a golf tournament,' Singh said. 'I would love to do it if I could tomorrow.'
 
No one would be surprised.
 
Singh already has 11 consecutive top-10 finishes, three off the modern-day record set by Jack Nicklaus in 1977.
 
He will be in the final group Sunday with Oberholser, who had a 67 at Spyglass Hill to join Singh at 13-under 203.
 
Oberholser, who grew up 90 minutes away in San Mateo, was even more impressive on a far more difficult track, playing bogey-free to get into serious contention for the first time on the PGA Tour.
 
Phillip Price of Wales had a 69 at Pebble Beach and was at 204.
 
Phil Mickelson, who played the first three rounds with Singh, had a three-shot lead over the big Fijian at the turn but lost seven shots to him on the back nine. Mickelson wound up with a 71 and was four shots behind.
 
'I didn't strike it as well as I did the first 45 holes of the tournament,' Mickelson said. 'At Pebble, you really need to hit your irons sharp because the greens are so small. When you give yourself putts at it, you can make some birdies. And you saw that with Vijay.'
 
During his streak of top 10s, which dates to the World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational in August, Singh has been known to run off several birdies in a row to take the lead or get into contention. This was no different.
 
'It's maybe because I'm hitting good shots, making the right putts at the right time,' Singh said. 'I can't explain it. It's a good feeling when it's going in, let me tell you that much.'
 
On a gorgeous day, with waves crashing against the cliffs and seals basking on the rocks below, Singh turned to a winter analogy to describe his hot play.
 
'It's like a snowball,' he said. 'You just feel like you're going to make birdies.'
 
It took him a while to get the feeling.
 
He bogeyed the first two holes, hitting his 3-wood out of bounds on No. 2 and scrambled for a bogey.
 
Singh held it together with a 5-iron that landed 20 inches right of the pin on No. 5 for birdie, and a lob wedge that spun back to 2 feet on the par-3 seventh.
 
He was only even par when he made the turn, although still in the thick of it.
 
It all changed so suddenly.
 
Starting with an 18-foot birdie putt on No. 11, Singh started hitting fairways and greens, and making just about every putt he had, no matter how far away.
 
He birdied five of his next six holes, ending the run with a 40-foot putt up the hill on No. 16.
 
'If I stood there and hit another 10 balls, I would probably never make it,' Singh said.
 
Mickelson simply couldn't keep up.
 
He was flawless on the front nine, giving himself a birdie putt on the first eight holes and converting three of them in what appeared to be a methodical journey around Pebble Beach. When his 15-foot putt on the treacherous eighth hole dropped for birdie, he was three shots clear of Singh.
 
Mickelson dropped a shot on No. 10 when his approach found the bunker, and he never got anything going after that. When he three-putted the 17th from 60 feet for bogey, he dropped four shots behind.
 
All that did was cost him a spot in the final group for the third consecutive week.
 
Mickelson is still very much in the picture, especially considering recent history at Pebble Beach. Three of the last four winners started the final round at least four shots behind.
 
'A few years ago when Davis (Love III) beat me, he got off to a quick start and made up a lot of ground,' Mickelson said. 'I'll have to play a great round. I'll have to be 6, 7, 8 under. It's not easy to do at Pebble Beach, but I think I have a shot at it.'
 
The only problem is the guy he's trying to chase.
 
Singh not only is the hottest player in golf, he has been tough from in front. Singh has won the last four times he has had at least a share of the 54-hole lead, dating back to Hilton Head three years ago.
 
Divots: The cut was at 1 under. Among the casualties were Davis Love III, who finished at 1 over. He is the third straight defending champion to miss the cut, starting with his title defense in '02. ... Jonathan Byrd finished with a triple bogey at Pebble Beach for an 83, his highest score on the PGA Tour. His previous high score was an 80 in the first round of the PGA Championship last year at Oak Hill. ... Craig Stadler and his son, Kevin, both made the cut.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
  • Full Coverage - AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
     
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