Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. — Vijay Singh’s last PGA Tour victory in 2008. His only win at The Honda Classic was in 1999, on a course that he couldn’t remember. And he arrived at PGA National a few days ago wondering if his game is still good enough for him to be competitive with the younger generation.
So far, he’s got to like what he’s seeing.
And he’ll have a shot Sunday at making history.
Singh — who turned 56 on Feb. 22 — has a chance to become the oldest winner ever on the PGA Tour. His round of 5-under 65 on Saturday put him at 6 under for the week, one shot behind leader Wyndham Clark.
They’ll be in the final pairing Sunday. Singh has been a pro longer than the 25-year-old Clark has been alive.
“It would be great,” Singh said when asked what a win would mean at his age. “I’ve worked pretty hard. I’m physically quite capable of doing it. Mentally, I’m going to go out there and see how my mind works. If I just don’t let anything interfere, I think I can do it.”
There have been seven players to win on the PGA Tour after their 50th birthday, the oldest Sam Snead at 52 years, 10 months, 8 days in the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open. Singh will be eight days removed from his 56th birthday Sunday.
“He’s been one of the game’s best,” said Rickie Fowler, who was alone in fifth at 5 under following his round of 66. “He’s a ball-striker. He’s not as long as he used to be, but on this golf course you don’t necessarily have to be long. It’s about getting the ball in the fairway and hitting your lines and hitting numbers. You don’t necessarily have to go out and do anything special.”
Singh, Keith Mitchell (70) and Kyeong-Hoon Lee (68) are all one shot off Clark’s lead. Clark started in sizzling fashion, opening with five birdies in his first seven holes before giving a bit back as the wind started to pick up at PGA National.
Forecasters say the breezes will only get stronger from here, and that means Sunday could be wild. There were 28 players within five shots of the lead. Brooks Koepka (70), first-round leader Jhonattan Vegas (69) and Michael Thompson (66) were 4 under, and Sergio Garcia shot 70 for the second straight day to reach 3 under.
Clark’s run of 122 consecutive holes without a three-putt ended at the par-3 15th, the start of the three-hole “Bear Trap” stretch. But he made enough good shots to end the day alone on the 54-hole lead.
“I felt like I managed where I hit the ball,” Clark said. “I put it in good spots. As long as I keep giving myself chances to make putts, I think I can win.”
The first time Singh played the Honda was 1994. Clark, who was three shots clear of the field at one point Saturday, was about 2 months old at the time. When Singh got to PGA National early in the week, the first thing he did was set out for a five-hour practice session – one of the many trademarks of his career.
He’s using a longer putter, something he says Bernhard Langer talked him into trying. Even though there’s more than a few gray hairs wisping out from beneath his visor, Singh is still in excellent shape and says there’s no tension or pain in his body.
“It’s work, determination, believing in what I believe in,” said Singh, who survived a super-windy Sunday to win the 1999 Honda at Herron Bay by two shots over Payne Stewart. “I just feel like if I play like I did today … when you aim at a target and swing the way you’re supposed to and the ball comes out, that’s the best feeling in the world.”
Winning Sunday would be a pretty good feeling as well.
Brian Stuard (Jackson/Oakland) was tied for 51st after a third-round 72.
In Tucson, Ariz., Mark O’Meara shot a 3-under 70 to take the second-round lead in the Cologuard Classic, while former baseball star John Smoltz closed with a double bogey to drop 11 strokes back in his Champions Tour debut.
The 62-year-old O’Meara finished with a bogey on the par-4 18th to take a 10-under 136 total into the final round on Omni Tucson National’s Catalina Course. He also bogeyed No. 18 on Friday in a 66 when he matched the tour record with eight straight birdies.
O’Meara won both of his senior titles in 2010. He won 16 times on the PGA Tour, the last two in 1998 in the Masters and British Open.
Smoltz, the Lansing native, was tied for 56th at 1 over after rounds of 73 and 74. The 51-year-old Hall of Fame pitcher made the double bogey on the par-4 ninth. He got into the field on a sponsors' exemption.
Kirk Triplett (69), Scott McCarron (70) and Willie Wood (71) were a stroke behind O’Meara.
First-round leader Kenny Perry had a double bogey on the par-5 17th in a 73 that dropped him into a tie for fifth at 8 under with defending champion Steve Stricker (72) and Darren Clarke (68).
Woody Austin had a 75, ending his streak of rounds at par of better at 37 — one short of the tour record shared by Jay Haas and Colin Montgomerie. Austin was tied for 42nd at 1 under.
Tom Gillis (Lake Orion), in his season debut, shot a second-round 68 to move up to a tie for 34th.
The No. 1 player in the world is No. 1 after three rounds at the HSBC Women’s World Championship.
Two strokes behind American Amy Olson after two rounds, Ariya Jutanugarn moved to the top of the leaderboard at Singapore and a one-stroke lead after a 6-under 66 at Sentosa Golf Club’s Tanjong course.
Jutanugarn had a three-round total of 11-under 205. No. 3 Minjee Lee was in second place after a 67, with Jodi Ewart Shadoff in third after a 68, two behind the top-ranked Thai player.
Olson had an incredibly mixed round of one double-bogey, three bogeys and six birdies for a 71 and was three strokes behind.
Former No. 1 Lydia Ko shot 69 to move to 5-under. Brooke Henderson had a 67 to move well up the leaderboard to 3-under – from 33rd to a tie for 14th. Nelly Korda, who won the Women’s Australian Open two weeks ago, was also at 3-under after a 69.
Maximilian Kieffer played just three holes at the Oman Open at Muscat. He finished the day in the outright lead.
The German golfer was one of only 11 players to finish their second rounds on Friday before play was called off for the day because of sandstorms.
When the second round was completed early Saturday, Kieffer was in a share of the lead with Joachim B. Hanson of Denmark.
The leaders managed only three holes of their third rounds before darkness brought an end to play, with Kieffer making three pars and Hanson making double bogey as well as a birdie.
Kieffer was 5 under overall, a stroke clear of Hanson, Brandon Stone and Gaganjeet Bhullar.
Play will resume at 7:05 a.m. local time in an effort to also fit in the fourth round in Muscat.