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Singh, Perry Leading Nedbank Challenge

November 28, 2003

SUN CITY, South Africa (AP) _ Vijay Singh and Kenny Perry shot 7-under 65s on Thursday to share the first-round lead in the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

Ernie Els, the winner three of the last four years, opened with a 72 for a 16th-place tie in the 18-player field. The South African failed to break par for the first time in 29 rounds in the event.

Chris DiMarco, Adam Scott, Robert Allenby and Darren Clarke opened with 66s and Stuart Appleby and Jerry Kelly had 67s.

DiMarco was hurt by a double bogey on the par-4 eighth, but birdied eight of the remaining 10 holes at the Gary Player Country Club course.

``I was very unhappy walking to that ninth tee, I can promise you,″ DiMarco said.

Perry played a quietly efficient round. He finished the par-36 front nine in 31 and had two more birdies on the back nine.

Singh, the PGA Tour money champion, was among the 15 players in the field who played in last week’s Presidents Cup, which ended in a tie.

``I think this is much more relaxed,″ he said. ``It’s only you to play. So when something goes wrong, you don’t have to apologize to a partner.″

Singh has played twice before in Sun City.

``I am more in control of my swing these days,″ he said. ``And every time I tee off, I feel confident that I can win, and that is a big difference.″

And his confidence showed after one round.

``Except for two holes in the middle of my round, I think I hit every fairway and every green,″ he said.

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