Friday, November 5, 2004

Singh two strokes off lead

The Associated Press

ATLANTA - Vijay Singh went 15 holes without a birdie. He missed half his fairways and a half-dozen putts inside 12 feet. And when he walked off the 18th green Thursday at the Tour Championship, he was right where everyone expected him to be.

Singh scratched out a 1-under 69, leaving him two shots out of the lead as he tries to become the first player in 54 years to win at least 10 times on the PGA Tour.

"I'm right there, and there's three days to go," Singh said.

Not everyone wants to see the 41-year-old Fijian get his 10th victory of the year. Darren Clarke, Jerry Kelly and 50-year-old Jay Haas would be thrilled to win their first. They took a step in that direction on a soggy, blustery day at East Lake, each posting a 3-under 67 to share the lead.

Everyone was curious to see how marriage would affect Tiger Woods. The answer? Not a bit. He still can't hit a fairway, struggling off the tee and with his distance control out of the rough for a 72.

But this was not a day to attack East Lake.

The 67 was the highest score to lead the Tour Championship in the four years it has been held at the course where Bobby Jones learned to play. Only 13 players among the top 31 on the money list managed to break par.

And no one was surprised.

Heavy rain Thursday morning turned fairways into small rivers, but a new drainage system at East Lake allowed the season-ending tournament to start on time.

It dried up so well that tour officials decided to play the ball as it lies, leaving players to face several shots with mud splattered on their golf balls.

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