Els to Face Singh in Semi-finals

By Sports NetworkOctober 17, 2003, 4:00 pm
SURREY, England -- Ernie Els survived a late rally by Tim Clark, who won four consecutive holes down the stretch on Friday, to advance to the semi-finals of the World Match Play Championship after a 1-up victory.
Els, the defending champion who has won this event four times overall, will face Vijay Singh on Saturday. Singh needed 38 holes to hold off Shaun Micheel on Friday and will now meet the world No. 2 in the semis for the second straight year.
In a return trip to England, British Open champion Ben Curtis disposed of Chad Campbell, 5 and 3. Masters winner Mike Weir was not as fortunate and came out on the losing end of a 5-and-4 drubbing courtesy of Thomas Bjorn.
Els played steadily in the morning at the Wentworth Club and used an eagle at the par-5 12th en route to a 2-up lead after the first 18.
The South African picked up steam in the afternoon and knocked his tee shot inside two feet at the par-3 fifth to win the hole and go 3-up. He followed that up with an 18-foot birdie at the sixth and another birdie at the seventh to open a commanding lead at 5-up.
Things got interesting on the inward half after Els bogeyed the 13th to lose the hole. Clark then won the 14th with a birdie and the 15th with a par.
At the par-4 16th, Clark dropped his approach within five feet of the hole and drained the birdie putt to win his fourth consecutive hole and pull within one.
Both players birdied the 17th to keep Clark's hopes alive but Els put the match away with a birdie at the last.
'You have to take your hat off to Tim Clark because he showed so much character coming down the stretch,' said Els. 'I had him 5-down before I played that tee shot into the bush on the 13th. Before then I felt in control and comfortable but I gave him a little breathing room and he totally responded.'
Clark took plenty away from the experience as he prepares to compete at the Presidents Cup next month.
'I'm proud of myself for the way I kept going and it is nice that at least I made Ernie work very hard in the end,' said Clark. 'I enjoyed being part of this tournament.'
Micheel was 2-up after the morning session and took a 3-up lead with an eagle at the par-5 fourth after his second shot stopped four feet from the hole.
Singh battled back with wins at the sixth and the seventh before pulling even with Micheel after a birdie at the ninth.
Micheel hit a bunker shot to five feet at the par-4 16th and ran home the putt for a birdie to regain a 1-up lead. The PGA champion found trouble on the very next hole, however, and sent his ball out of bounds twice before conceding the par-5 17th.
Singh and Micheel matched birdies at the 18th and pars at the first. Micheel found trouble off the tee again at the par-3 second and kicked his ball into a greenside bunker.
Micheel couldn't recover and bogeyed the hole giving the match to Singh.
'I'm really happy with the result,' said Singh. 'Any time you win a match, a long battle like that, you feel for the other guy. It was a long day and a tough day especially with the swirling winds and the greens were getting firm.'
Curtis began to put his match out of reach after a birdie at the par-5 12th in the afternoon gave him a 3-up lead over Campbell.
Campbell gave another hole away with a bogey at the 14th to fall 4-down and found further trouble at the 15th before conceding the hole and the match.
'I'm really thrilled to get through,' said Curtis. 'To be honest I haven't been playing very well of late and I have been working on a few things so I'm glad they worked out and really glad to be playing tomorrow.'
Bjorn was in complete control of his match with Weir as the Canadian never held a single lead throughout the day.
The Dane completed the victory with a birdie at the 14th and will move on to meet Curtis, who took the glory at Royal St. George's this summer after Bjorn's late collapse.
'I lost the Open and whoever I lost it to it wouldn't have made any difference,' said Bjorn. 'I lost it to Ben Curtis but it could have been Tiger Woods and it would have felt the same.'
Related Links:
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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

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    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

    After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

    Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.

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    Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium Course to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time.

    The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine – and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

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    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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    Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

    Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

    The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

    They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

    It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

    “I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

    The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

    The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.