Vijay Singh turned a hot putting streak into a 4-under-par 68 and a one-stroke lead Saturday in the third round of the Nestle Invitational.

"I didn't like the way I started - some terrible shots - but I got the putter going later," the native of the Fiji Islands said after completing three trips over Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club in 205, 11-under par."I'd have to say I was fortunate to shoot 68 today," said Singh, who, at one time or another, flirted with out-of-bounds, hit a tree, made a 20-footer for par and saved sole control of the top spot with a one-putt par on the final hole.

Nine others led or shared the lead in the ideal playing conditions before Singh took control with a string of three consecutive birdies beginning with a 25-foot putt on the 13th.

Seven of them are still within three strokes of the top spot going into Sunday's final round of the chase for a $216,000 first prize.

The chief challengers are Nick Price, Tom Watson and Andrew Magee, tied for second.

Watson, 44, trying to break a seven-season non-winning string, closed up with a solid 67. Price, who last week scored his 12th worldwide victory in 18 months, shot 68 despite a double bogey. Magee, a former winner of this title, had a 69.

They were followed by Fuzzy Zoeller and Tom Lehman at 207. Zoeller, 42, had a bogey-free 67. Lehman shot 68.

Singh came into third-round play here in a three-way tie for the lead and, with his early difficulities, had to work hard to stay in touch.

The 20-foot par-saving putt on the ninth helped, and he began to move with a 15-footer for birdie on the 11th.

Another long birdie putt on the 13th put him within a shot of the lead, and he reached it with a 3-iron to 8 feet on the 14th. A 12-foot putt on the next one put him in front alone.

Like Singh, Watson and Price ran off a late strings of three consecutive birdies.

Watson did it with putts of about 15 feet on the 10th through the 12th holes.

Price, who blew the lead Friday with a last-hole double bogey, all but blew himself out of the tournament with another double on the second hole Saturday - and had to drop a 12-foot putt to avoid a triple.

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In Phoenix, Laura Davies warmed up a drizzly day in the desert with a 7-under-par 66, passing eight other players to take the third-round lead at the Standard Register Ping.