Singh leads Buick

Posted: Sunday, August 01, 2004

GRAND BLANC, Mich. Vijay Singh had a lot of company at the top of the Buick Open's All-Star leaderboard.

The big Fijian shot a 7-under 65 Saturday to take a two-stroke lead over John Daly and a three-shot advantage over Tiger Woods into the final round.

''I think it's more exciting for the fans,'' Woods said. ''As a player, especially at this event, you just have to go out and make birdies.''

Woods shot a bogey-free 66, and still lost ground to Singh on one of the easiest courses on the PGA Tour. Woods was three shots back along with Carlos Franco (67), and Daniel Chopra (66) was another stroke back.

Singh and Daly who also had a 66 will be in the final group, just behind Woods and Franco.

''I was nervous about playing with Vijay,'' said Franco, coming off a victory last week in Milwaukee. ''Then I looked at the leaderboard and saw I would be playing with Tiger. Now, I'm even more nervous.''

Singh at 18 under after adding the 65 to his opening rounds of 63 and 70 has won the last six tournaments he has led after 54 holes. Woods has won three events when entering the final round behind by at least three shots.

Both have a chance to become the first to win multiple Buick Open titles in nearly four decades. Woods won at Warwick Hills two years ago, and Singh won in 1997.

This year, Singh has three victories and 10 top-10 finishes.

But since winning consecutive tournaments three months ago, he has just two top-five finishes and was tied for 28th at the U.S. Open and 20th at the British Open.

The Fijian is playing well this week after changing his putter and focus.

He went back to a standard putter after using a long one for 2 1/2 years. He also stopped worrying about chasing Woods in the world rankings, as Singh acknowledged he did earlier this year. Singh and Woods were both wild off the tee, hitting just five fairways each, but it didn't slow them down.

Singh birdied all four par 5s, and three other holes and made some par-saving putts in his bogey-free round. He could've started the final round with a three-shot lead, but missed a 4-foot putt for birdie at 18.

Women's British Open

SUNNINGDALE, England Finland's Minea Blomqvist shot the lowest score ever in a major championship, and Annika Sorenstam overcame two double bogeys to remain in contention Saturday in the Women's British Open.

The 19-year-old Blomqvist made a 60-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a 10-under 62. She had six birdies and two eagles to break the tournament record of 63 set three years ago by Karrie Webb at Turnberry.

Rachel Teske and Heather Bowie shot 65s to share the lead at 12 under, Cristie Kerr (63) and Karen Stupples (70) were another stroke back and Lorena Ochoa (66) was 10 under. Blomqvist was 8 under, tied with Laura Davies (69) and Seol-An Jeon (70).

Sorenstam offset double-bogey 7s at Nos. 1 and 14 with six birdies in a 70 to finish at 7 under on the Old Course at Sunningdale.

Five women and 21 men have shot 63s in the majors. Patty Sheehan was the first woman to shoot a 63 in a major in the 1984 LPGA Championship. Others were Helen Alfredsson (1994 U.S. Women's Open), Mary Beth Zimmerman ('97 Kraft Nabisco), Meg Mallon ('99 LPGA Championship). Among the men, Vijay Singh had the most recent 63, in the second round of the 2003 U.S. Open.

U.S. Senior Open

ST. LOUIS Peter Jacobsen shot a 1-under 70 for a share of the second-round lead with Craig Stadler in the rain-delayed U.S. Senior Open.

Stadler had a 69 to match Jacobsen at 7 under, a stroke ahead of Jose Canizares (68). Jay Haas (70), Tom Kite (68), Fuzzy Zoeller (66), Bob Gilder (69) and D.A. Weibring (66) were 5 under, and Champions Tour's top two money winners, Gil Morgan (70) and Hale Irwin (67) followed at 4 under.

Jacobsen, who had arthroscopic hip surgery three months ago, will face a 36-hole test Sunday as U.S. Golf Association officials to try to complete the tournament on time after rain washed out play Friday at Bellerive Country Club.

Scandinavian Masters

LODDEKOPINGE, Sweden England's Luke Donald shot a 3-under 69 to take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the Scandinavian Masters.

Donald bogeyed the final two holes on the Barseback course to finish at 13-under 203. Sweden's Peter Hanson (68) was second, and countryman Henrik Stenson (70) was another two strokes back.

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