Things Looking Up for Singh

RSS

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) -- Vijay Singh is on a roll that might take him all the way to his first PGA Tour money title.
 
Singh made three straight birdies to start the back nine and holed a 25-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole Saturday for a 3-under 69 that left him in a four-way tie for the lead in the Funai Classic at Disney.
 
Scott Verplank (66), Stewart Cink (66) and John Rollins (67) also were at 18-under 196.
 
Singh not only is shooting for his fourth victory of the year, but with Tiger Woods stumbling on the back nine for a 71, the big Fijian has an excellent chance to surpass Woods on the money list and maybe even clinch by the time they get to the Tour Championship.
 
'I can't ask for any better position,' Singh said. 'I'm leading going into the last day, but it's going to be a battle tomorrow. I've got to keep my head down and keep playing.'
 
Indeed, there is plenty of work left on a Magnolia course across from the Magic Kingdom that featured gusts up to 20 mph and tougher hole locations.
 
And just about everyone at the top of the leaderboard has something riding on the final round Sunday.
 
Verplank, winless since the 2001 Canadian Open, is 27th on the money list and was hopeful of earning enough money at Disney to clinch a spot in the Tour Championship and skip next week's tournament in Tampa.
 
The former NCAA champion from Oklahoma State desperately wants to be in Norman, Okla., next Saturday to watch his Cowboys play the top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners.
 
Now, he's most interested in winning.
 
'My No. 1 focus is to win the tournament,' Verplank said. 'The other stuff will take care of itself.'
 
Cink's tee shot on the edge of the water on No. 17 led to a bogey, but his 40-foot birdie putt on the final hole gave him a share of the lead. Cink is 41st on the money list and is trying to get into the Tour Championship.
 
Rollins is 43rd on the list. He was the only player among the leaders to avoid a bogey.
 
David Peoples had a 69 and was at 16-under 200.
 
Davis Love III, also in the running to win the money title, was poised to join the leaders until he drove into the left rough on the 18th hole. Worse yet, he chunked a chip short of the green - it traveled a mere 16 feet - and took double bogey for a 69 to finish at 201.
 
Love had not made worse than par all week until that hole.
 
Woods had three bogeys on the final five holes for a 71, ending a streak of 14 consecutive rounds in the 60s at Disney and dropping him out of contention.
 
'I'm not going to watch today's tape because it's just terrible,' Woods said.
 
He was poised to be among the leaders going into the final round after back-to-back birdies early in his round, including an approach to 18 inches at No. 5, put him at 13 under and only one stroke behind.
 
It all fell apart on the back nine.
 
Unable to reach the green on par-5 14th with the wind in his face, Woods hit a wedge into 35 feet and three-putted for bogey. Two holes later, he was 60 feet from the cup and took another three-putt bogey.
 
Then, a flyer out of the rough on the 17th sailed over the green for his fourth bogey of the day. He wound up at 204, six shots out of the lead.
 
'My iron game has been carrying me all year. Now, I'm driving it good and then my iron game leaves me,' Woods said. 'Welcome to golf, you know?'
 
Woods' largest comeback on the PGA Tour is five shots at Pebble Beach in 2000, and with so many talented guys playing well ahead of him on the leaderboard, his best hope Sunday is to make enough money to keep Singh in his sights on the money list.
 
Singh, who trails Woods by $171,239 on the money list, is playing the $4.8 million Chrysler Championship next week in Tampa, while Woods won't play until the season-ending $6 million Tour Championship.
 
Woods is going for a record fifth straight money title, and no one has come close to beating him since the streak began in 1999.
 
Now, Singh appears to have a clear advantage.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Funai Classic at Walt Disney World Resort
  • Full Coverage - Funai Classic at Walt Disney World Resort
     
    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.