AP News

Singh stroke behind leaders in Canadian Open

Photo: Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Vijay Singh made seven birdies and one bogey Friday.

MARKHAM, Ontario (AP) — The last time Vijay Singh and Mike Weir got together in the Canadian Open, the big Fijian beat the Canadian in a dramatic playoff in the 2004 tournament at Glen Abbey.

Three years later, Singh was pulling for his struggling playing partner to make the cut in the national championship.

"I was rooting for Mike," Singh said. "It's good for the game and good for Canada that he's playing the weekend."

While Weir managed to make the cut by a stroke, Singh shot a 6-under 65 on Friday to finish the second round a shot behind leaders Steve Allan and John Mallinger.

"I'm looking forward to playing a solid weekend," Singh said. "Win or lose, I'll go out there and try to play my game."

Weir nearly missed the cut for the second straight year and 11th time in 16 starts in the tournament. The 2003 Masters champion was 1 under after rounds of 71 and 70.

"It was a struggle all the way around," Weir said. "I'll go to the range and try to figure it out. I've got to play really well to get back into this thing. You never know when your game can come around."

Allan followed his opening 64 with a 68 to match Mallinger (66) at 10-under 132 on Angus Glen's North Course. Tripp Isenhour (68) joined Singh at 9 under.

"I've been playing well, but just haven't cracked the big finish," said Allan, a 33-year-old Australian who won the 1998 German Open and 2002 Australian Open.

Allan birdied the par-3 17th, hitting his tee shot within inches on the 206-yard hole, then saved par on the par-4 18th with a 10-foot putt.

"It's generous off the tee and I'm driving it well," Allan said.

Mallinger had five birdies in his bogey-free round.

"My driving's been great this week," Mallinger said. "When you drive well here you get some good looks at the pins."

Singh made a 40-foot putt from just off the green on the par-3 14th to reach 8 under, and briefly tied Allan for the lead with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 15th. The three-time major champion also made a 25-footer for par on 17.

"The golf course isn't very difficult, but the pin placements are," Singh said. "The pin placements are very much on little slopes and you've got to be on the correct side of the pin. A lot of times you're 6, 8 feet away, but you have to read it so well and make a perfect putt to make it."

The 44-year-old star won the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March to push his PGA Tour victory total to 31. He has won a tour-record 19 times since turning 40.

"It's not important in my head to go out there and be leading the golf tournament," Singh said. "It's important in my head to go out there and play solid golf."

Ryan Palmer (67) and Michael Putnam (68) were 8 under, and defending champion Jim Furyk (66) was another stroke back along with Cliff Kresge (65), Doug LaBelle II (68) and Brandt Snedeker (68). Hunter Mahan, the first-round leader after matching the tournament record with a 62, shot a 74 to drop four strokes back at 6 under.

"It didn't feel the same out there," Mahan said. "It's still there somewhere. I'll try to work it out and get it going again this weekend."

The top six players on the leaderboard played in fairly calm conditions the first two days, teeing off in the morning Thursday and afternoon Friday. The other half of the draw had tougher wind conditions in the afternoon Thursday and morning Friday.

"You'd expect to play in a little more wind than we did," Allan said. "We definitely had the good side of the draw."

Furyk, the winner last year at Hamilton Golf and Country Club, shot his 66 in the morning after opening with a 69 in windy conditions Thursday afternoon.

"It got a little breezy for our second nine," Furyk said. "But much, much better conditions to score in than we had yesterday. ... I was on the good end of the tee times last week at the British Open. So, at the end of the year it all evens out."

Divots: Allan and Mallinger tied for 13th last week in Milwaukee. ... David Hearn topped the 20 Canadians in the field, shooting a 74 to finish at 4 under. The Brantford player, the top Canadian last year when he tied for 20th, is making his first PGA Tour start of the season after playing 16 Nationwide Tour events.

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