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Second Masters in Singhs Sights

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Two years ago, Vijay Singh helped Tiger Woods slip into the Masters champion's green jacket.
Now he'd like Woods to return the favor.
'Anybody with a 5- or 6-under has a chance,' Singh said after shooting a 2-under-par 70 in the third round Saturday.
He wound up in third place at 2-under-par 214 -- three behind leader Jeff Maggert and maybe more importantly, one ahead of Woods.
'I'm surprised I'm only three back today,' Singh said. 'I thought it would be more.'
Woods, of course, has captured everyone's attention here in his quest to become the first player to win three straight at Augusta National.
But it's players like Singh that old guard stalwarts like Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer have in mind when expressing doubts about the ability of Tiger's top challengers to rise to the occasion
That could change Sunday.
Known as a guy who practices more than anyone, Singh went to the range shortly after the third round and with his swing coach, his caddie and his son, Qass, looking on, started pounding irons into the distance. If his round Saturday was any indication, Singh still has the stuff to grind out wins in the toughest situations.
Showing no signs of the sore ribs that kept him out of contention in The Players Championship two weeks ago -- 'There was no problem, it feels solid,' he said -- the world's 10th-ranked player succeeded on a day full of errant shots on some holes, beautiful ones on others.
'I missed a few chances, but I'm happy with the way I played,' he said.
His first birdie came on No. 2, when Singh hit a greenside sand shot to tap-in range to move to 1-under -- in the red and on the leaderboard for the first time in the tournament.
The rest of the front nine -- the rest of the round, really -- was an exercise in patience. He hit only five of 12 fairways over the final 16 holes. He played most of his approach shots safe. He made eight straight pars, and at the turn, appeared to be losing sight of the leader, Mike Weir, who was six shots ahead at the time.
But Singh chipped in from the fringe on No. 15 and hit a brilliant tee shot on the par-3 16th for another tap-in birdie. His only slip was a bad approach shot on No. 18 -- he pushed it way right -- that led to a bogey.
'There were 66s out there,' Singh said. The idea of going that low or lower was not far from his mind. 'It's out there,' he added.
Trying to prepare for it, Singh rushed to the range afterward. He began working with the long irons -- the kind of shot he missed on 18, the same kind he might need come late Sunday afternoon.
Whether Woods is a factor or not by then, Singh has been there before and knows what to expect.
'It'll be a tough day tomorrow,' he said.
Related Links:
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Mini-Site
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  • Augusta National Course Tour
  • The Augusta National Membership Debate: A Chronology
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