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Golf briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 5, 2000


Singh, Woods tie as Duval fades

ATLANTA -- Tiger Woods birdied five of his first eight holes Saturday to put David Duval out of the picture, then hung on for 4-under-par 66 that left him tied with Vijay Singh in the Tour Championship.

"I moved up in the standings, and that's the whole idea," said Woods, who joined Singh at 10-under 200 after three rounds.

A victory today would be his 10th this year. Only Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead have won that many in one season.

Singh is playing his best golf since winning the Masters -- the only major Woods failed to win this year. Singh missed only one green and never came close to making bogey in his round of 65.

Phil Mickelson was at 201.

The only other person who could keep the final round from becoming a three-man race is Ernie Els, four shots back after bogey on the 18th gave him 68.

Duval, healthy and playing in the final group with Woods, foundered on the back nine and dropped seven shots off the lead.

"I didn't get many breaks today," Duval said. "You could definitely say that. I got an awful lot of breaks for a long time a few years ago, but this year a lot of breaks haven't gone my way."

Duval went from a one-stroke lead to chasing Woods by the time they got to the fourth tee. He hit short of the green, and Woods continued to apply the heat with an approach that spun back and stopped 6 inches from the cup.

They matched birdies on the par-3 sixth -- Duval from 20 feet, Woods from 3 inches after nearly making a hole-in-one -- but that was the last one for Duval. Two strokes off the lead going to the back nine, his game collapsed amid bad shots and bad breaks.

Next up for Woods is Singh. Two weeks ago in the Presidents Cup, Singh's caddie had "Tiger Who?" stitched into the back of his cap for their singles match, which Woods won 2 and 1.

Singh joked that he would fire caddie Paul Tesori if he did the same thing today.

"My goal is to go out and win tomorrow," Singh said. "If I hit the ball like I am and make some putts, nobody is going to beat me."

SFB CLASSIC: Steve Lowery was 20 under after three rounds and extended his one-shot lead to three in the PGA event at Madison, Miss. Fred Funk moved into a tie for second with Kenny Perry and Billy Andrade.

"My goal was to get in position to try to win the golf tournament, and I am if Steve (Lowery) would just calm down a little bit," said Funk, who won in the event 1998.

"I'm trying not to worry about other people," said Lowery, whose 196 is a tournament record through 54 holes. "If I play the way I can play. I can win."

SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP: Tom Watson has been a winless rookie with the seniors. That could be changing after six straight birdies on the back nine helped him shoot 67-204 and move two shots behind leader Leonard Thompson in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Watson's round began with nine pars and a 10th-hole bogey.

"I decided it was now or never," said Watson, who has finished second four times in 12 senior events.

Thompson (66) had no bogeys and had a two-putt birdie on the 18th to go to 14 under. He and John Jacobs (68-203) join Watson in the final group of the season's last event.

Jose Maria Canizares, the leader by one Friday, shot 72-206.

VOLVO MASTERS: Darren Clarke, second on the European PGA money list, and Pierre Fulke were 11-under 205 for a one-shot lead entering the final 18 holes of the $2.9-million event in Jerez, Spain.

Clarke had an eagle, five birdies and three bogeys, including birdie putts of 40 and 100 feet, in a round of 68.

Fulke, the leader by one Friday, shot 70.

MIZUNO CLASSIC: Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, seeking her first LPGA victory, shared a one-shot lead at 9 under with Sophie Gustafson entering the final round in Otsu, Japan. Goetze-Ackerman shot 66-135. Gustafson, who shared a one-shot first-round lead with Rachel Hetherington, shot 69. Hetherington fell to 72-138 in the $850,000 tournament. Goetze-Ackerman is trying to become the fourth player this year to get her first career title.

* * *

TODAY ON TV: Europe, Volvo Masters (taped), 9 a.m., Golf Channel; PGA, Tour Championship, 1, ESPN, 2, Ch. 28; Senior, IR Tour Championship (taped), 5, ESPN; PGA, Southern Farm Bureau Classic (taped), 6, Golf Channel.

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