Vijay Singh made a 30-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole that changed everything Saturday in the Chrysler Championship at Palm Harbor, Fla. A tournament that for most of the day looked as if it were up for grabs now seems headed for a familiar conclusion.
Singh recovered from two early bogeys for a 4-under-par 67, giving him a one-shot lead over Tommy Armour III and making a half-dozen others play their best golf to have any chance of catching the No. 1 player.
The 41-year-old Fijian has won five times in seven starts, and he has won 10 consecutive tournaments with at least a share of the 54-hole lead, dating to the MCI Classic three years ago. A victory today on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook would be his ninth of the season and make him the first $10 million winner in golf.
“I haven’t won yet,” Singh said.
All he has to do is think back one week, when Ryan Palmer shot 62 in the final round to win at Disney. That might not happen at Innisbrook, one of the strongest tests of golf in Florida.
“It’s a difficult golf course to go low,” Singh said. “I think I have to play solid golf – 2 or 3 under should do it for me, I think.”
Singh was at 12-under 201, and never had the lead to himself until his birdie on the 17th.
Armour was lucky to be only one shot back. His approach to the 18th hit the bleachers, bounced off a tree and dropped into the rough near the green. He got up-and-down for par and a 68, putting him at 11-under 202 and in the final group today with Singh.
Jesper Parnevik and Kirk Triplett, from Pullman, each had 68 and were at 10-under 203. Another shot back were Jose Maria Olazabal (67) and Tom Carter (65), who have a chance to keep their cards for next season.
Jeff Sluman and Jonathan Byrd, the co-leaders through 36 holes, both got off to solid starts until they crumbled on the back nine. Sluman’s slide started earlier, a triple bogey on the sixth hole, and he never quite recovered on his way to a 74 that left him five shots behind.
Byrd, who was 9 under on the back nine in the first two rounds, played his final four holes in 4 over for a 75.
Alastair Forsyth shot a 4-under 67 to open a three-stroke lead over Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia after three rounds at the Volvo Masters in Sotogrande, Spain.
Play was completed in fading light at Valderrama because of an 86-minute afternoon delay caused by a passing thunderstorm.
Forsyth, playing in the last group with Garcia, had just birdied the 13th hole to get to 8 under with the Spaniard facing a 6-foot putt when the players were called in. When they resumed, Garcia missed the putt to fall three behind.
Forsyth was at 9-under 204. Poulter, who birdied No. 16 with a chip-in and No. 17 to catch Garcia, carded a 69. Garcia had a 71 and was at 207 with the Englishman.
Kate Golden shot an 8-under 64 and moved into a tie for the lead with South Korean star Grace Park after two rounds of the CJ Nine Bridges Classic in Jeju, South Korea.
Annika Sorenstam moved back into contention for her seventh LPGA Tour title of the year after a 67, three behind the leaders.
Golden capped her bogey-free round with an eagle on the par-5 18th to finish at 9-under 135.