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Singh Making Big Play for Lead

He is two shots back of Chopra at the Western Open. Woods and Mickelson are well back.

July 08, 2006|Ed Sherman | Chicago Tribune

LEMONT, Ill. — Golf's Big Three don't show up at the same course often these days.

Before this week, the last time Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Vijay Singh were in the same field in a regular PGA Tour event was at the Ford Championship at Doral at the beginning of March. This isn't NASCAR, where the top drivers work every week.

So when the three superstars checked in for the Cialis Western Open, all sorts of possibilities loomed for this rare gathering. Tiger vs. Phil. Phil vs. Vijay. Tiger vs. Vijay. Or dare we dream it, a three-way grudge match in a playoff.

Anticipation, though, doesn't go very far in this unpredictable game. Only Singh has held up his end.

Singh shot his second straight 67 during the second round Friday. At eight-under 134, Singh is two shots behind leader Daniel Chopra, who fired a 66 to move to 10 under.

Meanwhile, the other two members of the elite threesome have plenty of work to do. Woods bounced back a bit Friday with a 67 to come in at three under. Mickelson went the other way with a 74 to fall to one under.

It would be foolish to rule out the world's No. 1 and 2 players, but they will need to go awfully low to make their weekends interesting.

Singh, ranked third, has been struggling off the tee all year. His woes continued Friday when he hit only one fairway in his opening nine holes.

"It's half good, half bad right now," Singh said. "I'd like to get most of it good. It's pretty hard to do that when you're changing drivers almost every week, and that's what I've been doing."

It's also difficult to score a 67 when you're spraying them off the tee. Somehow, he managed a bogey-free round.

"I scrambled really well," Singh said. "I didn't play as good as yesterday, but I managed to get it up and down quite a few times. That's what you have to do to play well, I guess. If you're not playing well, you have to score well."

Chopra started scoring on the 10th hole and didn't stop until he reached the clubhouse. He recorded seven birdies, with one bogey, en route to a 30 on his back nine. He finished with a flourish, chipping in on 18 for a birdie.

This is the first time he has had the 36-hole lead in a PGA Tour event.

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