Vijay Singh leads the PGA Tour's money list by an ever-widening margin. He is running away with the player of the year award. And he moved within 18 holes of another big prize yesterday.
Singh shot a 68 to widen his lead over Tiger Woods at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Norton, Mass., putting him one round from his sixth victory of the year and the No. 1 ranking in the world. At 14 under par, Singh leads the top-ranked Woods by three strokes going into their head-to-head matchup today.
"I think it should be a lot of fun -- a lot of fun -- to go out and compete against Vijay," Woods said. "I think it will just be a blast."
Woods shot 69 to improve to 11 under and kept pace until Singh made birdie on 18 -- after missing a 25-foot putt for eagle. Woods has eight career come-from-behind wins, but none since 2001.
"It's better to be three up than two up; that gives me even more of a cushion," Singh said. "Every shot in front of Tiger is important."
Singh and Woods were the only players to break 70 in every round, and just 12 players broke par on Sunday at the 7,415-yard, par-71 TPC of Boston; there were 88 rounds in the red for Rounds 1-2. That left them in the final group with daylight in front of third place Bill Haas, who fell toward the pack with bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14 that dropped him from 11 under to 9 under.
Shigeki Maruyama was 8 under after shooting par, and Jay Williamson and defending champion Adam Scott were another stroke back, seven behind Singh.
Singh has won the last eight tournaments he led going into the final round, including four this year. He needs only to finish ahead of Woods to convince the computers what many humans have known for some time: He's playing the best golf in the world. (The computers factor in performance over the past two years, taking the strength of field into account; Woods held a 12.09-11.91 lead heading into this week.)
Woods has held the No. 1 ranking for a record 264 consecutive weeks. Singh had made the No. 1 ranking a goal earlier in the year but decided it was too distracting and concentrated on winning individual tournaments.
"I'm pretty focused," he said. "I'm not one to lay down. I'll just go out there and play my game."
* LPGA TOUR: Cristie Kerr's experience was too much for Christina Kim's youthful exuberance.
Kerr claimed her third tournament of the year, overcoming a shaky final round and a strong challenge from Kim to win the State Farm Classic. Kerr, who held a four-stroke lead entering the fourth round, squandered her advantage but regained the lead with a birdie at the 17th. She recovered from a bad tee shot at No. 18 by getting up-and-down from a greenside bunker, finishing at 3-under 69 for a tournament record total of 24-under 264.
"This one is definitely unique and a different way to win," Kerr said. "I feel like I had the lead and came from behind to win."
Kim, 20, burst into tears along with her father, who was also her caddie, just off the 18th green.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to come this far," Kim said. "I'm very proud of myself. . . . I've got so many years ahead of me and so many rounds of golf ahead of me."
Kerr, who won the Takefuji Classic in April and ShopRite Classic in June, beat the previous tournament record of 21 under, set in 2001 by Kate Golden.
* CHAMPIONS TOUR: Craig Stadler won his second straight tournament, firing a 6-under 66 for a three-stroke victory over Jay Haas at the inaugural First Tee Open.
Stadler, coming off a win at the Tradition last week in Aloha, Ore., has won four Champions Tour events this season and seven in 31 starts in two seasons.
He had seven birdies and a bogey and never trailed in the final round, finishing at 15-under 201 at Pebble Beach in an event that also included junior golfers ages 13 to 18.
* EUROPEAN TOUR: European Ryder Cup player Luke Donald shot a 5-under 66 to win the European Masters by five strokes for his second European tour victory.
Donald, an Englishman who won the Scandinavian Masters six weeks ago, eagled the opening hole and finished at 19-under 265.
Donald, a former NCAA champion at Northwestern, also plays on the U.S. tour.