May 19 2012
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- The last time Vijay Singh found himself in the top five on the leaderboard after the third round, he never got the chance to play another shot. That was at The Barclays last year, an event that was shortened to 54 holes because of the threat of Hurricane Irene.
Singh settled for a tie for third that week.
Now he enters the final round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship in solo fifth, thanks to Saturday's 4-under 66. The only weather issues he'll have to worry about on Sunday are the tricky cross-winds at the TPC Four Seasons Resort course that will challenge the patience of all those in contention.
"I haven't been in this position for a while," said Singh, whose last win came in 2008 when he claimed the FedExCup. "I've been looking forward to this position. I've worked really hard. I haven't stopped working."
At age 49, Singh's opportunities to win another TOUR event would seem to be closing. After battling some injury problems, Singh had five top-10 finishes last year but he failed to produce a top-10 result this season.
The 66 on Saturday, though, is a sign of progress. It's his lowest round on the weekend this year, and at just two strokes off the lead held by Jason Dufner, Singh is certainly within striking distance.
"My game has been coming around," Singh said, 'but there wasn't any signs of scoring. This is the first day where I kind of went out there and scored well."
It helps to drain a couple of lengthy putts, such as the 31-footer he had at the 13th hole for birdie and the 38-footer for eagle at the 16th. He also started the day by rolling in an 11-footer for birdie.
But after making eagle-birdie at 16 and 17, he three-putted the final green as he waited on playing partner Gary Woodland to extract himself from trouble.
"I waited a long time to putt that," Singh said, "so lost my momentum there."
Singh was more fired up about his ball-striking than his putting. He's hit 76 percent of his greens in regulation and ranks fourth in the field in proximity to the hole.
"I think I hit the ball a lot better than I putted today," Singh said.
And now he's one good round away from his 35th win on TOUR, and his 23rd since he turned 40.