Woods, Singh in a showdown at Quail Hollow

Updated: 06 May 2007 17:35 IST

Tiger Woods finally had the lead to himself on a chilly Friday at the Wachovia Championship.

Woods, Singh in a showdown at Quail Hollow

Charlotte, North Carolina:

Tiger Woods finally had the lead to himself on a chilly Friday at the Wachovia Championship as he walked toward the eighth green, only two holes left in his second round and his ball six feet below the cup for another birdie.

Padraig Harrington was one shot behind and warming up on the range. Vijay Singh was four shots back in the group behind.

Things sure can change in a hurry at Quail Hollow.

Within a half-hour, Woods and Singh were tied for the lead to set up a weekend showdown between the top two players on the US PGA Tour this year.

Woods missed his short birdie putt, then took his only bogey of the round when he drove into the trees on No 9 and had to settle for a 4-under 68. Singh played the final three holes in 3 under to salvage a 71 and join Woods at 6-under 138.

Also tied for the lead was Arron Oberholser, who also emerged from obscurity quickly with birdies on his last three holes for a 69. They had a one-shot lead over Ted Purdy (69) and Jason Bohn (72), who were among six players who had at least a share of the lead.

The other was Harrington, and his head must have been spinning. The Irishman made only five pars, ran off four straight birdies to build a one-shot lead, then threw it all away by hitting into the creek on the 18th to finish with a triple bogey and a 75.

Oberholser, who lost in a playoff here three years ago, cares more about his own game than sharing a spot on the leaderboard with the only two guys to be ranked No 1 in the world this decade.

Rare showdown

Woods and Singh will be in the last group, a showdown of stars rarely seen at majors in a tournament that has all the trappings of one.

They are the only two-time winners on the US PGA Tour this year. Singh is leading the FedEx Cup race by 703 points over Woods, while Woods is No 1 on the money list by $12,691 over Singh.

The last time they were paired together was the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship last September, when Woods turned a three-shot deficit into a two-shot victory by closing with a 63. And it was at that same tournament in 2004 when Singh beat Woods to end Woods' five-year reign at No. 1 in the world.

But it's only the halfway point at Quail Hollow, and 11 players are within three shots of the lead, including Phil Mickelson.

Woods had three birdies through five holes, but his round was memorable for his par saves _ five in a seven-hole stretch around the turn. And while he did well to not drop a shot until the end, he was gritting his teeth over missing birdie putts from 3 feet on the par-5 fifth hole and from 6 feet on the eighth.

That roar he heard behind him as he walked up the eighth fairway was Singh lacing a 3-iron over the water to the par-5 seventh green, the ball catching a ridge and rolling within 3 feet of the cup. The big Fijian followed that with a sand wedge that spun back within a foot of the cup on No 8 for a birdie. And unlike Woods, he managed to save par on the ninth.

Ken Duke, the Nationwide Tour player of the year in 2006, had another 70 and was at 4-under 140.

The group at 141 included Mickelson, who hit only one fairway on his front nine and traded birdies and bogeys on his way to a 71.

Topics : Golf Tiger Woods
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