Originally created 02/24/02

Golf roundup

CARLSBAD, Calif. - This World Golf Championship event looks more like the final of the Sacramento city tournament.

After a week of surprising losses by Tiger Woods and just about every other big name in golf, the final survivors of the Match Play Championship are Scott McCarron and Kevin Sutherland, who have been playing each other since they were kids.

McCarron claimed a dramatic 1-up victory over Paul Azinger by holing a 40-foot birdie putt on the final hole. Sutherland became the highest seed ever to reach the finals - No. 62 - with a 1-up victory when Brad Faxon three-putted the 18th green from 15 feet.

A wild finish?

It's been that way all week at La Costa Resort, where Woods, Phil Mickelson and David Duval were gone after the first day and everyone else fell in line.

Next up is a 36-hole final for McCarron and Sutherland, who came into the week as the Nos. 45 and 62, respectively.

They were born one year apart in Sacramento and have played against each other at every level - but never on a stage like this, and not with $1 million awaiting the winner.

McCarron recalls the time they played against each other in the San Joaquin Sectional high school championships at Butte Creek in Chico.

"I had him 6-down with nine holes to play and he shot like 28 on the back and beat me," McCarron said. "So, I need to get a little revenge."

It caps a stunning week for Sutherland, one of three players in the 64-man field who has never won on his home circuit.

"I've got to admit, I'm exhausted right now," Sutherland said. "Strange things happen in match play. I'm very fortunate to be in this position."

The matches ended bitterly for Faxon and Azinger, who played perhaps the most consistent golf of the week but chose the wrong time to make their worst mistake.

Azinger and McCarron traded one great shot after another to exchange the lead early on the back nine, and they were all square coming to the 17th. McCarron hit first and stuffed it into 3 feet, and Azinger followed him with a wedge that was equally precise.

On they went to the 18th, where Azinger finally blinked.

From the fairway, he went straight at the flag on the left side of the green but pulled it slightly into the thick, gnarly rough. McCarron played it safe to the middle of the green and left himself 40 feet.

McCarron went first.

"Get it close," a fan screamed as he sent the putt on his way. The outcome was much better, dropping into the heart of the cup as Azinger lowered his head.

"I was trying to make it," McCarron said. "Paul probably has one of the best short games out here, so I was expecting him to get it up and down. I felt I had to make it."

Azinger needed a miracle chip, but it barely reached the green.

"I played 35 holes today and I didn't hit many bad shots - except that one," Azinger said. "I let him off the hook. I went to sleep on my second shot."

TUCSON OPEN: Heath Slocum, struggling in his first full season on the PGA Tour, shot an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to take a one-stroke lead in the Tucson Open.

Slocum, who missed the cut in four of five previous tournaments, eagled the par-5 second hole and added six birdies to finish 54 holes at 16-under 200.

Andrew Magee and second-round leader Brandel Chamblee were tied for second. Magee, the 1994 winner, fired a 65, and Chamblee, who began the round with a two-stroke lead, had a 69. He played the first 48 holes of the event without a bogey.

Chamblee barely missed a 20-foot, sloping putt for birdie on the final hole when the ball skirted the cup before breaking downhill.

Miguel Angel Jimenez was alone at 202 after a 65, with Greg Kraft, Fred Funk and David Peoples three shots off the pace.

Slocum belied his inexperience down the stretch, sinking a 10-foot putt for birdie on No. 16 to tie Chamblee and a 6-footer on No. 17 to grab the lead. Slocum then two-putted for par from 60 feet on the dangerous 18th hole, where Kraft lost position with a bogey.

Slocum reached the green on the 495-yard second hole by hitting a 2-iron 239 yards to the back and made the 15-foot putt for his eagle.

He birdied Nos. 3, 6 and 8 on the front, and birdied No. 13 - the hole that was Chamblee's undoing - with an 18-foot putt to get within reach.

Magee birdied No. 18 to set up his Sunday pursuit of a second Tucson title.

SINGAPORE MASTERS: Shooting a scorching 8-under-par 64, Arjun Atwal took the lead Saturday in the third round of the Singapore Masters. The left-handed Indian leads the pack with a 10-under-par 206 total through three rounds.

Second-round leader Nick O'Hern of Australia fell to the second spot after bogeying the last two holes, finishing with a 72, a stroke behind Atwal. Jim Johnson of the United States is two shots off the lead.

AUSTRALIAN LADIES: Karrie Webb birdied both par-5s on the back nine and shot a 4-under 68 Saturday, moving a step closer to a possible fifth consecutive win at the ANZ Australian Ladies Masters in Gold Coast.

Webb is tied with Germany's Elisabeth Esterl at 10-under 206 after three rounds on the East Course at Royal Pines.

Michelle Ellis of Australia shot a 70 and is two strokes off the lead in the joint European-Australian tours event.

Annika Sorenstam of Sweden had a 71 and is tied for fourth place with Silvia Cavalleri of Italy at 7 under, three strokes behind the leaders.


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