Singh assumes four-shot lead over Woods

Sunday, December 16, 2001

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Bernhard Langer climbed a tree. Jesper Parnevik poured water on his glove to keep it dry. David Toms' tee shot on the par-3 eighth hole went 450 yards -- 230 yards toward the green, 220 yards down a winding cart path.

No wonder they call this the silly season.

Vijay Singh was about the only one who avoided the comical calamity, holing out for eagle on his way to a 1-under 70 and a four-stroke lead over tournament host Tiger Woods after three rounds of the Williams World Challenge.

The only thing missing Saturday were the giggles. For a tournament that doesn't count toward money lists or world rankings, there were plenty of long faces.

"The conditions make it that way," said Woods, who made double bogey on No. 17 and finished with a 74. "No one wants to embarrass themselves with a high score."

Singh was at 11-under 205, in great position to claim the $1 million prize, and there's nothing silly about that kind of money.

"Everybody wants to win," Singh said. "I don't think anybody is trying to have fun."

The scoring average was 73.72, more than three strokes higher than the opening round. And it would have been even worse if not for Thomas Bjorn, whose 64 not only tied the course record but was a 16-shot improvement from his second round.

Just about everyone else got beat up, sometimes in the most peculiar fashion.

Langer and caddie Peter Coleman climbed a large oak tree in search of his ball, which he finally found and shook loose. He took a penalty stroke and managed to save par.

Toms hit into the middle of a rock by the green on No. 7, took a drop and nearly chipped in for par. On the next hole, his ball bounced right of the green and onto a cart path, then rolled down the winding path about 220 yards.

"We did some silly stuff out there," Toms said.

The most bizarre episode belonged to -- who else? -- Parnevik. The Swede's right hand slipped on his club on his tee shot at the par-3 third hole, and he shanked it 20 yards into the water, leading to double bogey.

Toward the end of his round, Parnevik poured water on his glove because it was too dry -- isn't that the purpose of wearing a glove? He wound up with a 75, 10 strokes worse than the previous day.

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