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Bogey finish drops Els into tie for Dubai lead

©Associated Press
March 9, 2003

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Ernie Els bogeyed the troublesome 18th hole but finished with 3-under 69 Saturday to grab a share of the lead entering today's final round of the Dubai Desert Classic.

Els, seeking his third Dubai title and second in a row, birdied Nos. 15-17 and had a three-round total of 13-under 203. The South African was tied with Alastair Forsyth and David Lynn.

Lynn and Forsyth, who has led from the start, also shot 3-under 69. Forsyth had one bogey, on No. 4. Lynn made bogey on the second and fifth holes, but three birdies on the back nine put him in contention.

Els, who has four wins around the world this season, struggled on the front nine but had a chance to take possession of the lead with the three successive birdies. For consecutive days he got into trouble on the par-5, 547-yard 18th.

Els' second shot got stuck in rocks along a wall by the lake. On Friday his second shot found the water short of the green, and he bogeyed the hole to slip into a four-way tie.

"I had to be patient," Els said. "Yesterday on the 18th I hit a bad 4-iron, so I deserve what I got today. I had a 6-iron today and had 195 to the front. I took a chance again but felt the ball was going to come out flying a little bit. I had to find a shot just to get the ball out."

MASTERCARD CLASSIC: Bruce Lietzke made seven birdies before bogeying the 18th to fall into a three-way tie for the lead with Tom Jenkins and Eamonn Darcy in the Champions Tour event in Mexico City. Lietzke, who won five times last season, finished with 4-under 68 to tie Jenkins (65) and Darcy (68) at 9 under. "I played 17 holes like Tiger Woods and the 18th hole like my grandmother," Lietzke said. Tom Kite shot 65 and was tied with Isao Aoki (69) at 7 under.

CLEARWATER CLASSIC: Ryan Palmer won his second Nationwide Tour start, shooting 4-under 68 today for a three-stroke victory in Christchurch, New Zealand. Palmer, who shot a course-record 9-under 63 Friday, finished with 17-under 271 on the Clearwater Resort course. Andre Stolz closed with 68 to finish second.

Burk getting impatient with protest request

McLEAN, Va. -- Martha Burk set a Tuesday deadline for authorities in Augusta, Ga., to review her request to protest during the Masters, saying she'll sue if she doesn't get an answer by then.

Burk, lead critic of Augusta National's all-male membership, spoke after receiving a leadership award at the Women's Center's 18th annual conference. She wants permission for a group to protest April 12 during the third round but did not specify whom she would sue if her deadline isn't met.

"It was a very reasonable request," Burk said. "We only asked for 12 people around the gates and ... 200 across the street, which as protests go is not very many."

Sheriff Ronald Strength has said that demonstrations on the road could pose a safety hazard.

Burk, head of the National Council of Women's Organizations, got a sense of what impact a dozen protesters could make as she entered the hotel.

A group of men who called themselves "duffragettes," representing the D.C. Chapter of the National Coalition of Free Men, demonstrated with signs. "They got the 'duh' part right," said Burk, who took a picture of the men.

Burk said she also receives calls from unknown men on her cell phone in the middle of night. "A guy called me at 4 a.m." she said. "He said, 'Hey woman, why don't you come over here and wash my dishes?' "

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