FARMINGTON, Pa. -- Their Ryder Cup experience was so miserable, the magnitude of the United States' loss to Europe so great, Tiger Woods and Kenny
Perry decided to pull out of the 84 Lumber Classic, Chris DiMarco didn't, and now he's in contention to win the tournament.
DiMarco shook off the disappointment he has felt since last weekend to shoot Friday's best round, a 7-under 65, and put some pressure on leader Vijay
Singh, who followed up his opening-round 64 with a steady-as-he-goes 68.
Singh leads 2003 British Open champion Ben Curtis by two shots with DiMarco another stroke back.
Singh actually had a bogey -- his only one in two days -- but opened with two consecutive birdies and added three more during a round that could have
been even better if he hadn't missed several short putts.
Singh, who can set a PGA Tour season money record by winning the $756,000 first prize, liked how he putted despite the results. He blamed several
misses on the still-maturing and tough-to-read greens at the 7,471-yard Mystic Rock course, all 18 of which were rebuilt after being criticized by
last year's field for being too soft and too easy.
"It's pretty hard to read the greens," he said. "The greens are not settled. And just when you think you've got the right line, after putting you know
the line then. ... I probably had three or four (misses) from inside eight feet. But I made some long ones to equalize that."
Singh also played were scoring conditions were less favorable, after the Allegheny Mountain winds that gave shots some extra length died down in the
afternoon and the greens became chewed up. He was one of the first players on the course Thursday, when he took advantage of prime scoring conditions
with an eagle and six birdies for his 64.
"I'm quite happy," said Singh, who recently overtook Woods for the world No. 1 ranking. "I've got the weekend to go and there are a few more chances
DiMarco's 65 also came in the afternoon, after he took advantage of his later starting time to enjoy some much-needed sleep. His 2-1-1 Ryder Cup
record was the best of the Americans, but the one-sided 18½-9½ loss to Europe stayed with him for several days and affected his preparation for this
DiMarco might have withdrawn, as Woods and Perry did, if he hadn't promised four close friends weeks ago he would take them to next weekend's World
Golf Championship event in Ireland for free. Joe Hardy, 84 Lumber's fabulously wealthy owner, offered any golfer a free trip for five if he played
this weekend en route to Ireland.
"Mr. Hardy made an unbelievable deal," DiMarco said. "But the Ryder Cup was exhausting. ... Wednesday, I was out of it and Thursday it was still on my
mind and I probably wasn't ready, but getting a good night's sleep really helped today. I hit a lot of solid shots and gave myself a lot of
The other two U.S. Ryder Cup members both made the cut, with David Toms at 3 under, nine off the lead, and Stewart Cink at 2 under.
Curtis, all but invisible since his being one of the most surprising major winners ever at the 2003 British Open, has had consecutive 67s -- a
much-welcomed start for a golfer who has missed the cut in five consecutive tournaments and seven of 11.
He has only one top 10 finish since the British Open, leading after two rounds of the Memorial before finishing eighth.
"It's going to be a long weekend," he said. "I haven't played 72 holes in a long time."
He played well Friday despite wearing Cleveland Browns colors -- the bright orange shirt was a giveaway -- in Pittsburgh Steelers country. He realizes
he might not want to try that over the weekend, when the crowds figure to be larger.
"Hopefully, by this weekend, I will have some Steelers stuff," he said.
Singh is five shots up on Kent Jones, Joey Sindelar and J.P. Hayes, who are tied at 7 under. Sindelar and Hayes both had 69s Friday and Jones followed
up a 69 with a 68, only the second time in 16 tournaments he has had consecutive rounds in the 60s.