tampabay.com

Clubhouse leader Perry is happy again

By BOB HARIG
Published March 20, 2005


ORLANDO - Kenny Perry had a career year in 2003, winning three times, finishing among the top 10 in three major championships and earning more than$4-million.

That made last year's winless season somewhat of a disappointment.

"It was such a magical year ('03) for me, I had a chance to win eight or nine or 10 tournaments, and then not really getting in contention last year. ... I think as a pro that's pretty disappointing," Perry said. "So it's nice to get back there again."

Perry led the weather-delayed Bay Hill Invitational by one shot with seven holes remaining in his third round.

After scores of 70 and 68, Perry was 3 under par for his third round when play was halted because of darkness. He led by one over Stephen Ames and by two over Vijay Singh and K.J. Choi.

Forty players must finish the third round this morning. Players will be regrouped before the final round.

VIJAY TO NO. 1?: Singh has a chance to regain the No. 1 ranking he lost two weeks ago to Tiger Woods at Doral. If the tournament were to end with Saturday's standings, in which Singh was tied for third, he would go back to the top spot. Woods was 3 over par and tied for 33rd. Singh could move to No. 1 with a fourth-place finish if Woods finishes worse than 38th.

"There's a lot of golf to play," said Singh, who will play 25 holes today. "Hopefully I can finish off (the third round) strong and see what happens in the afternoon. It would be a great way to lead into the (Players Championship) and the Masters."

AROUND BAY HILL: The 441-yard par-4 finishing hole is proving to be the hardest on the PGA Tour this year, playing to an average 4.571. The hardest was the first at Waialae Country Club for the Sony Open in Hawaii, which played to 4.457. ... Ernie Els won Bay Hill in 1998 but has struggled there since. His best finish was a tie for ninth, and after a second-round 77 he was tied for 42nd. ... Woods was three off the lead after finishing his second round but played 13 holes of his third round 3 over, putting him nine back of Perry.