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Woods, Toms go distance to make final

©Associated Press
March 2, 2003

CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Tiger Woods went from breathing easily to a huge sigh of relief.

Hardly challenged through four rounds of the Match Play Championship, Woods had to fight to the end Saturday afternoon to hold off Adam Scott and advance to the 36-hole final against David Toms today.

Woods holed a 5-foot par putt on the first extra hole, then won when Scott missed his par putt from 3 feet.

"It's unfortunate the way it ended," Woods said. "I'd rather it had been won with a birdie."

Just as dramatic was the semifinal match behind them.

Toms, still recovering from food poisoning, missed 4-footers on Nos. 15 and 17, giving Peter Lonard a chance. Toms gutted it out, holing a 10-foot birdie on the final hole.

"I'm just glad I made the putt on the last hole," Toms said. "I felt like I played good enough the whole day to win that match, and I was able to do that."

It marks the first time in the event's five years that two top-10 seeds reached the final -- Woods at No. 1, Toms at No. 6.

Scott, cool and confident throughout, squared the match on No. 18 by getting up-and-down from a difficult stance in the bunker.

Scott and Woods returned to No. 10 for the playoff and both hit their approach shots some 35 feet away. Scott's putt rolled 3 feet by the hole, and Woods misread his putt as it swung 5 feet left of the cup. He thought he needed to make that putt to keep going. Instead, Scott pulled his putt so badly it never grazed the lip.

Toms never trailed against Lonard, but nearly threw away the match.

He had a 14-foot birdie to go 3 up with three holes left but three-putted for bogey and lost the hole when Lonard saved par from a bunker. Lonard birdied the next hole to even the match and Toms missed from 4 feet on No. 17 with a chance to go 1-up.

Both had 10 feet for birdie on the last hole. Lonard's putt slid by on the right, 4 feet past the hole. Toms left nothing to chance.

In the quarterfinals, Toms knocked out Jerry Kelly 4 and 3; Lonard beat Darren Clarke 1-up; Scott beat Jay Haas 2 and 1; and Woods won 5 and 4 over Scott Hoch.

Woods was 7 under through 13 holes against Hoch, his best performance of a strong week in which he has made one bogey in 77 holes and has been behind on only 10 holes.

Scott and Lonard will play an 18-hole consolation match today.

CHRYSLER CLASSIC: An unspectacular third round was just fine to Frank Lickliter, and good enough for a four-stroke lead.

Lickliter, who drastically altered his swing 18 months ago, shot 2-under 70 and was at 16-under 200 after 54 holes at the Omni Tucson (Ariz.) National Golf Resort.

In search of his second PGA Tour victory, but first since the major makeover of his game, Lickliter knew better than to expect a repeat of the 63 that propelled him into the lead Friday.

"I'm very happy to break par today," he said. "It's so easy to let your expectations go out of control, and then when you don't feel like you're maintaining those expectations, it's real easy to get a bad attitude."

Under an overcast but dry sky, with no wind, Chad Campbell and Steve Flesch had strong third rounds to move from far back into a second-place tie with Brenden Pappas at 204. Campbell shot 63, capped by 7-under 29 on the back nine. Flesch, who has won $5.7-million in five years but no titles, shot 64.

WOMEN'S AUSTRALIAN OPEN: A course-record 64 put Suzanne Strudwick in position to challenge for her first win in 12 years in Sydney. Strudwick shot 8 under in windy conditions for a share of the third-round lead, matching second-round leader Laura Davies at 10-under 206.

JACOB'S CREEK OPEN: Joe Ogilvie shot par 71 to take a two-stroke lead after the third round of the Nationwide Tour event in Adelaide, Australia. Ogilvie, who spent the past four years on the PGA Tour, had 6-under 207 total on the Kooyonga course. Shane Tait (67) was second.

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