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August 24 2012

6:03 PM

Singh: ‘I’m striking the ball good’

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Vijay Singh, who is looking for his first win since 2008, has three top-10 finishes this year.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

FARMINGDALE N.Y. -- So what if Vijay Singh turns 50 in six months. So what if he hasn't won a PGA TOUR event in exactly four years next week.

Singh continues to guzzle from golf's Fountain of Youth -- and his ageless ability showed again on Friday at The Barclays when he vaulted up the leaderboard with a 67 that moved him to 7 under at the midway point of the first FedExCup Playoffs event.

Singh is trying to win The Barclays this week for the third time on as many courses. A victory come Sunday would be Singh's 23rd since hitting the big 4-0, six more than the legendary Sam Snead, who was 52 when he won his 83rd TOUR start.

The age thing, though, isn't of concern to Singh. Winning, on the other hand, is.

His best chance since that 2008 victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship, his second straight in the Playoffs that year on the way to winning the FedExCup and its $10 million bonus, probably came at the Northern Trust Open last year where he finished two strokes behind Aaron Baddeley. He had three other top-four finishes in 2012 and a total of 13 top-10s since his last win.

Two of those came in his last three starts and in the other, Singh took a share of the lead into the weekend at the PGA only to shoot 74-77. He talked that week at Kiawah Island about learning to believe in himself again, and after Friday's 67 there appeared to be more of the same confidence.

"I think I'm playing as good as I did any part of my career," Singh said. "I'm hitting the ball as long. I'm hitting the ball straighter. I feel a lot of confidence in me. It's just I need to get some kind of momentum going to keep me going. I thought I had it at the PGA, but I kind of let it slip there on Sunday.
   
"But it's all about how you're hitting it, and right now I'm striking the ball good. My distance is back, and I'm literally pain free, which makes a whole lot of difference."

Singh, who has had knee surgery and experimental treatments on his back over the last four years, certainly looked the picture of health on Friday.

He got things headed in the right direction with a 9-footer for birdie at the first hole, two-putted the par-5 seventh from 46 feet and drained a 20-footer at the ninth to turn in 33. He then had to wait until the 18th for his final birdie, making an 11-footer there to pull even with the overnight leader.
 
"I don't know what the mindset was after yesterday when I got to the clubhouse and seen all the low scoring," Singh said. "It kind of threw everybody off.  But yesterday afternoon the conditions got a lot tougher, and this morning, too, it was firmer than, I guess, yesterday morning. I think they shut the waters off. It's playing harder. The wind is swirling around. I'm happy to have finished what I did."

Singh says he spends more time on the putting green than on the range in practice sessions that were nothing short of legendary on TOUR. When he's not playing, he normally practices about four hours, which includes about 90 minutes in the gym every day "if I'm not hurting" or every other day if he is.

“I'm not slowing down,” he said firmly, and the results speak for themselves.

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