The only big putt Mike Weir made in the Canadian Open yesterday in Oakville, Ontario, came at a good time, a six-footer for a birdie on the 18th hole that gave him a three-shot lead and left him in great shape to become the first Canadian in 50 years to win his national championship.

Without that putt for a 1-under-par 70, Weir might have felt he let a great round get away.

Vijay Singh took a triple bogey on No. 11 for the second time this week before another remarkable recovery -- six birdies in his wild round of 72. Jesper Parnevik hit his opening tee shot so far right he never found it, but also held it together for a 71.

Weir was the model of consistency, giving himself 13 birdie putts -- but making only one.

Still, he goes into the final round at 10-under 203 and leading by three shots over Singh, Parnevik and Cliff Kresge, who had a 67 and will play in the final group with Canada's biggest star.

"I had an opportunity to really distance myself, and unfortunately it didn't happen," Weir said. "On the other hand, I didn't putt worth a darn all day and I increased my lead by two."

Kresge is playing in the final group for only the second time in his career. Otherwise, he is best known as the guy who was lining up a putt in qualifying school when he backed off the green and fell into a creek.

He might feel as though he's up a creek playing with Weir in his native land, on the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Open with a gallery aching for the first Canadian champ since Pat Fletcher in 1954.

"It's a hockey crowd," Weir said. "Hopefully, the golfing gods will be here tomorrow."

* LPGA TOUR: Annika Sorenstam took a three-stroke lead into the final round of the John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic, shooting a 3-under 68 on the demanding Cedar Ridge Country Club course in Broken Arrow, Okla.

The Swedish star, the 2002 winner at Tulsa Country Club who is making her first LPGA Tour start since the Women's British Open in late July, had an 8-under 134 total. England's Joanne Morley was second after a 67.

"I didn't touch a golf club for three weeks. I'm surprised," said Sorenstam, who won the HP Open in Sweden on Aug. 8 in her last tournament appearance.

* CHAMPIONS TOUR: Doug Tewell shook off a bogey on the first hole and shot a 7-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead over Des Smyth after two rounds of the Kroger Classic in Maineville, Ohio. Tewell, the runner-up last year, had five birdies on the front nine.