|Vijai Singh in action at Lake Buena Vista on Saturday
Lake Buena Vista: Fiji’s Vijai Singh shot a three-under-par 69 on Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the $4 million Funai Classic at Disney World with Scott Verplank, Stewart Cink and John Rollins.
The world No.3 is aiming to unseat Tiger Woods as PGA Player of the Year and leading tour money-winner.
Singh held the solo lead after 36 holes and shares the 54-hole pace but Verplank and Cink each shot six-under 66s and Rollins fired a 67 to create the logjam at 18-under 198. David Peoples (69) is at 16-under 200, followed by Davis Love III (69) and Rocco Mediate (69) at 15 under.
World No.1 Woods carded a one-under 71 that included three bogeys in the final five holes. Woods is at 12-under 204 having matched Byron Nelson’s 54-year-old feat of making 113 PGA Tour cuts in a row on Friday.
Singh, who has eight more starts this season than Woods and has three wins, trails him by $171,239 on the money list.
Love, the only other player with a realistic chance of finishing top of the money list when the season ends at the Tour Championship in two weeks’ time, is $737,650 behind Woods.
“You can’t ask for any better position,” Singh said. “I’m leading going into the last day; it’s going to be a battle tomorrow.”
In nine full seasons on the PGA Tour, Singh has never won Player of the Year or leading money-winner honours.
The tall Fijian went close in 1998 when he won the US PGA Championship and finished second to David Duval in the order of merit. He was also runner-up to Mark O’Meara for the Player of the Year award. In winds ranging from 10-20 mph, the Magnolia Course greens were harder and slicker than they had been in the first two rounds and scoring was not as easy.
“There were a lot of holes where there was a cross wind and where it was into the wind,” Singh said.
“My putter saved me today. I had one or two really long putts for birdies and just hung in there.”
While the putter befriended Singh, it proved to be Woods’ enemy as he had two three-putts in a three-hole stretch on the back nine to fall six strokes off the pace.
In his career, Woods has never overcome a deficit of five or more shots heading into the final round to win on the PGA Tour.
“What it boils down to is that I didn’t hit the ball close enough,” Woods said. “I didn’t give myself any good looks at putts.”