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Singh still man to beat at Mercedes

Associated Press

Vijay Singh quickly left everyone in his massive wake Friday. By the end of the second round in the season-opening Mercedes Championships at Kapalua, Hawaii, he left them a little hope.

Singh played his first seven holes in 6 under to open a large lead on the Plantation Course at Kapalua, then settled down with a series of pars to finish with an 8-under-par 65 for a two-shot lead over Mike Weir.

Despite the sluggish finish, the 41-year-old Fijian was halfway home to the tournament scoring record. He made it as clear as the Pacific waters below that he’s still the man to beat on the PGA Tour.

“He shows no signs of slowing down,” Weir said after making up ground with a 10-under 63. “It’s just a given he’s going to be there.”

Singh was at 15-under 131 after curling in a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th.

Ernie Els, who set the 72-hole record two years ago at 31 under, played solidly from start to finish for a 65 that left him two shots out of the lead. Sergio Garcia and Jonathan Kaye were another stroke back after 67s.

Tiger Woods might be right up there with Singh if he can figure out his putting. Woods missed three straight birdie chances inside 8 feet on the front nine, and ended his round of 68 by three-putting from 35 feet, missing a 4-footer for birdie. He was 10 under, five shots behind the man who replaced him at No. 1 in the world.

“I had my chances to post a good, solid round,” Woods said. “And I didn’t do it.”

LPGA commissioner to leave

LPGA Tour commissioner Ty Votaw said he will leave after the 2005 season, giving him seven years of steady growth and the second-longest tenure by a commissioner in the LPGA’s 55-year history.

“I feel very much at peace with this decision,” Votaw said. “I feel very good about having given the LPGA everything I’ve got, and I feel good about the results.”

Votaw said he came to the conclusion it was time to go after the season-ending ADT Championship in November.

“At the end of 2005, I will have spent a full two-thirds of my adult life with the LPGA,” he said. “When I looked back over the past year, three years, five years, it became clear that the LPGA is in a very good place with a very bright future.”

The LPGA board has established a 10-member search committee to find a successor.

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