Originally created 05/17/03

Golf roundup



IRVING, Texas - Vijay Singh is back to getting attention for his play on the golf course instead of his comments about Annika Sorenstam.

With his second straight 5-under-par 65 on Friday, Singh took the second-round lead at the Byron Nelson Championship. He leads by one stroke over Tim Petrovic, who had a hole-in-one in his round of 66.

Singh created a stir after his runner-up finish last week in North Carolina by saying Sorenstam had no business playing in next week's Colonial and that he hoped she missed the cut. Before the Nelson, Singh said he was sorry if his comments came across as a personal attack and tried to put a different spin on his words.

Since then, he has focused on playing.

"I'm very focused. I came here to win the golf tournament," Singh said Friday. "It's Byron's tournament, and I am just looking forward to playing. My mind is totally on this golf game, and that's it."

Since missing his only cut at The Players Championship, Singh has finished no lower than 11th his last four tournaments. He tied for sixth at the Masters and was second at the Wachovia Championship last week, and is fifth on the money list with $1.9 million.

Scott Verplank had Friday's low-round, a bogey-free 63 on the par-70, 6,846-yard Cottonwood Valley course. He is tied at 132 with first-round leader Jeff Sluman, who followed his opening 63 at Cottonwood with a 69 that included two backside bogeys on the tougher 7,022-yard TPC Four Seasons at Las Colinas.

Windy conditions, with sustained winds of 20 mph much of the day and gusts of 30 mph or more, made for fewer low scores after 88 subpar rounds Thursday. Only 42 the 155 golfers broke par Friday.

"When it is blowing as hard as it was today and gusting like it was, it's pretty difficult. I don't hit that well every single day," said Verplank, who had only two birdie putts of more than 7 feet.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: In Parkville, Mo., Jose Maria Canizares birdied the first three holes and finished with 3-under-par 69 to take the opening-round lead at the Bayer Advantage Celebrity Pro-Am.

One stroke behind at The National were Dave Eichelberger and James Mason. Tom Jenkins, Vicente Fernandez and Andy Bean were at 71.

Tom Watson, who designed the 6,955-yard course in a hilly and heavily wooded area north of Kansas City, birdied the par-5 18th for 72. A cold north wind and steady rains made birdies hard to come by.

NATIONWIDE TOUR: Augusta's Vaughn Taylor shot 3-under-par 69 to move to 4-under for the tournament and stay in contention midway through the Virginia Beach Open. Thomson's Franklin Langham is five shots out of the lead at 141 after two trips around the TPC of Virginia Beach.