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Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, November 22, 2000

P G A _ G R A N D _ S L A M

By Ken Sakamoto, Star-Bulletin
Masters champion Vijay Singh watches his drive during the
first round of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf at the Poipu Bay
Resorts on Kauai. Singh fired a 3-under-par 69 and holds
a two shot lead over Tiger Woods going into
today's final round.

Singh leads
but Tiger’s still
in hunt

Woods sleepwalks through first
round of PGA Grand Slam
and trails by two strokes

By Bill Kwon

POIPU BAY, Kauai -- "I broke 80."

That was Tiger Woods' reply when asked to describe his round yesterday in his quest to become the first to win the PGA Grand Slam of Golf three consecutive years.

It might have felt like an 80 for the sleep-deprived Woods, who shot a 71 to trail Masters champion Vijay Singh by two strokes going into today's final 18 holes of the $1 million event featuring the winners of golf's four majors.

You can't blame Woods. He just flew in from Bangkok, Thailand, with a fuel stop in Saipan just hours before the 9 a.m. tee time at the windswept Poipu Bay Course.

"It was a very interesting day,'' said Woods, winner of the U.S. Open, British Open and the PGA Championship this year. "Tuesday was a very long day. It started out Tuesday when we left and we got to relive it all over again here."

He tried to clear the cobwebs with an early morning run as soon as he landed, but it didn't help.

On the first tee, Woods told his caddy Steve Williams, "I couldn't tell if the ball was moving or if I was moving. I'm saying, the ball was teed up, it can't be the ball."

So it was a round when golf's No. 1 player and $9 million man made a lot of good shots and bad shots. Woods said he had to rely on his hands a lot during the round marked with five birdies and four bogeys, two of them when he three-putted.


As a multiple major winner, Woods opened the way for two alternates to join him and Singh in the elite event: Paul Azinger, who won the Sony Open in the year's first full-field PGA Tour event at Waialae in January, and Tom Lehman, winner of the 2000 Phoenix Open.

Lehman shot a 73 and Azinger a 74 to still be in the running for the $400,000 top prize because the PGA Grand Slam returned to a 36-hole stroke play format.

"Tom's only 1 over and Paul's 2 over," said Singh. "With the wind conditions (a constant 15-20 mph), anybody can play well. It really will be a shootout."

Had it been match play, Singh would have eliminated Azinger, 3 and 2, while Woods and Lehman would have been even. But it's not match play.

The way Woods was feeling, he wouldn't have minded if it were match play.

"After a day like today, hopefully somebody would have beaten me, 7 and 6, or I would have beaten them, 7 and 6. I'd be asleep by now. Instead, I had to play all 18 holes."

Still, as woozy as he was, Woods is still the man to beat today.

He plans on following the same winning formula as last year when he arrived the morning of the tournament, which he went on to win: "Dinner and a lot of sleep. That's as good a remedy as anything."

A solid putting round was Singh's remedy for success yesterday. He had four one-putts on the front nine and dropped birdie putts of 13, 20 and 15 feet.

Singh's only bogey came at the 405-yard, par-4 ninth hole.

"It was one of the toughest scoring rounds of golf I've played," said Singh. "I didn't hit the ball good at all off the tee. But I managed to make 6- and 8-footers that counted."

Lehman had the shot of the day, stiffing a 3-iron dead into the wind from 187 yards to five feet of the flagstick at the 430-yard 10th. But a triple-bogey 6 at the par-3 11th proved costly.

"I putted really poorly today," Lehman said. "Looking at the scores, I'm still in it but it's frustrating because I had 36 putts."

But there was still a lot of golf left today -- 18 more holes -- for all four of the players.

This time, you know that Woods was a lot more awake.

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