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Appleby takes Mercedes lead

Times Staff and Wire Reports
Published January 11, 2004

KAPALUA, Hawaii - Stuart Appleby needed only two holes to regain the lead Saturday in the Mercedes Championships, and it got only better from there.

Appleby made all the crucial putts, from a 55-foot birdie on No. 7 to a 10-foot par on No. 17, finishing with a 7-under 66 to build a two-shot lead over Vijay Singh and leave everyone else - Tiger Woods, included - hoping Appleby gives them a chance.

Appleby, who was at 20-under 199, has made 25 birdies against five bogeys in three rounds.

"Everyone says (the greens are) tricky, and I guess they are," Appleby said. "But if you can just roll a couple in, you can get on a roll."

Singh missed several putts from about 10 feet.

One of the few he converted came on No. 18 from 4 feet, a birdie that gave him a 4-under 69 and left him within range of winning the first event of the season.

Retief Goosen had only 24 putts and matched the best score of the week with a 9-under 64, leaving him five shots out of the lead.

Woods, who missed the Mercedes Championships last year while recovering from knee surgery, shot 65 despite two three-putts and stands seven shots behind Appleby.

"I need to shoot 62 or 63 and have a little help," Woods said.

Lincicome wins by two

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome won the Harder Hall Invitational in Sebring by two strokes over former junior All-American Aree Song. Among a field of 120 top amateurs, Lincicome shot 74 for a 1-under 277.

"It's awesome to win," said Lincicome, who won the Class 2A high school title the past two years. "I can't express how happy I am. "It really hasn't sunk in yet." NEW YEAR'S INVITATIONAL: Luke List, a freshman at Vanderbilt, shot 1-over 73 at the amateur tournament at St. Petersburg Country Club and leads by one entering today's final round.

Defending champion John Holmes of Kentucky and Florida Southern's Greg Koch shot 71s and are tied for second.

Don Lucas of Valrico shot 73 and leads the senior division by three over Brian Jeffery.

- Times correspondent Dave Theall contributed to this report.

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