Singh knows the way

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:14 AM ET

Presented for your enjoyment today at the Canadian Open -- Vijay and the Also Rans.

Nothing in golf is a sure thing of course, but a betting man would be foolish to wager against PGA Tour standout Vijay Singh to win the Canadian Open, which wraps up at Angus Glen in Markham this afternoon.

Singh leads by a stroke after shooting a three-under 68 yesterday, 12 under par overall, which is a good position to be in when you already have 31 career PGA Tour victories, including two this season.

But Singh also has a huge advantage in that most of the players within striking distance are journeymen or up-and-comers who have yet to arrive. For sure, the two young players a stroke back, Australian Steve Allan and American rookie John Mallinger, never have won on the Tour.

Still, the native of Lautoka, Fiji, is not taking anything for granted as he attempts to win his second Canadian Open, and first since 2004 at Glen Abbey when he won in a playoff over Canada's Mike Weir.

"Obviously (Allan and Mallinger) are playing very well to be in this position, so I cannot take anything lightly," Singh said. "I have to go out and play my game, make a lot of birdies and not make too many mistakes. I have to attack the golf course."

Singh started the day at 133, a stroke behind Allan and Mallinger, but charged out of the gate with back-to-back birdies. He finished with six birdies in all, along with three bogeys. Still, he believes he could have put a choke hold on the field if his short game was a little smarter.

"I'm kind of disappointed with the way I finished," said Singh, adding that he believes 16 under will win the tournament. "I thought I played a lot better than a 68. I made a lot of mistakes that I don't usually do. But still, I'm in the lead and hopefully I can limit those mistakes (today) and finish the job."

Allan, who has bounced between the PGA and Nationwide Tours since 1996, and Mallinger, who is in good position to win PGA rookie of the year this season, both shot one-under 70 yesterday and sit at 11-under overall.

AUSSIE GOING FOR IT

Allan acknowledged after his round that everyone fully expects Singh to win his second Open, and he is hoping to use that to his advantage.

"Can I play better than Vijay? Who knows? He's a great player. He can go out and shoot 63. If he shoots 63 and I shoot 65, I'm going to be pretty happy at the end of the day," the personable Aussie said.

"But you're obviously in it to win, so if I have a chance, I'll be going for it. I know I've got the game to play well."

Allan will play alongside Singh today, while Mallinger and first-round leader Hunter Mahan, who is two strokes behind Singh, will partner.

Ironically, most of the crowd followed Singh and partner Tripp Isenhour yesterday, even though Allan and Mallinger started the round as the tournament leaders. But Allan certainly didn't mind.

"If I was a golf fan I would be watching Vijay as well, so I can't blame anyone for that," he said.

Mike Weir and Stephen Ames are the closest Canadians, seven strokes back with totals of 208.


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