Golf: Singh on song to share lead

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VIJAY SINGH, the newly crowned USPGA champion, maintained his form, recording six birdies and an eagle to share the early first-round lead in the weather-delayed Sprint International. Four days after winning his first major, Singh scored 15 points under the modified Stableford system used in this unique event, tying with Jim Carter for the lead.

Tiger Woods, whose long game suits the Castle Pines course and format, was one point behind at 14, thanks to a pair of eagles. Corey Pavin, having his best round in years, was at 13, along with Davis Love III and David Sutherland. The defending champion, Phil Mickelson, finished at eight, and David Duval, the Tour's leading money-winner, stood at seven.

Lightning caused a suspension of play at mid-afternoon with half the field still on the course. Play resumed after a delay of two hours, 40 minutes, and when darkness fell 36 players remained on the course. They were to complete their rounds early yesterday, with the second round beginning as scheduled.

The leader among players still on the course was Brandt Jobe, who had 12 points with three holes remaining. The field will be cut to the low 70 players and ties for today's third round and to the low 36 and ties for tomorrow's final round.

Under a scoring format that awards five points for an eagle, two for birdie, zero for par, minus one for bogey and minus three for double-bogey or worse, Singh had a steady round in which he did not miss a fairway. He birdied three of the first six holes to reach plus-six, dropped a point with a bogey at the seventh, then birdied three more holes. He eagled the par-five 17th hole.

"It's a good feeling to go out there and know that the confidence from last week is so high that I could just let it go," Singh said. "I don't worry about the bad shots, I just think about where I'm going to hit the ball. The feeling is good, and you've got to ride it while you can."

Carter, 37, who has yet to win an event in seven full seasons on the Tour, had nine birdies and also finished at 15.

Woods, playing this course for the first time, started on No 10 and gained his first eagle at the par-four 13th. He added five more points at the par-five eighth hole.