Originally created 08/15/04

Major showdown

HAVEN, Wis. - Vijay Singh held his game together when several other contenders faded late at Whistling Straits.

As a result, he's in a most comfortable position: leading a tournament through 54 holes.

Singh knocked in a 6-foot par putt at the 18th hole Saturday and has a one-shot lead over Justin Leonard entering today's final round of the 86th PGA Championship.

Singh, the 1998 PGA champion and 2000 Masters Tournament champion, shot 69 and is the only player in the field to break 70 in all three rounds.

Leonard was tied for the lead with Singh but bogeyed the final hole when he left his second shot short and in a bunker, and barely got the ball out. His 30-foot attempt for par barely missed.

A surging and confident Phil Mickelson matched the day's low round with 67, and the Masters champion is tied with Ernie Els (72), Chris Riley (69), Stephen Ames (69) and Darren Clarke (72) at four strokes off the lead.

Briny Baird, who began the day one shot behind Singh and Leonard, led or shared the lead through most of the round but triple-bogeyed the par-3 17th hole after hitting his tee shot into a deep ravine, then bogeyed the 18th hole to shoot 75 to stand tied for 11th.

Singh has every reason to be confident of capturing his third major title. He's won his past seven tournaments when leading or tied for the lead through three rounds.

"I feel comfortable with the lead," Singh said. "Every shot I'm ahead is one more shot that the other guys have to make up the next day. That's why that last putt was so big. Justin is still there, but it was big to have four shots over the other guys."

Leonard was among three other players who had a piece of the lead at one point during the round, but didn't see much difference between a tie for the lead and one back, with 18 holes to play.

"I played pretty solid, hit some smart shots and gave myself chances, much like I've done all week," said the 1997 British Open and 1998 Players champion. "(Today) is going to be a fun day. I'm going to get to go head-to-head with one of the best players in the world, and it should be really exciting."


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