tampabay.com

Micheel earns spot in match play final

By TIMES WIRES
Published September 17, 2006


VIRGINIA WATER, England - Beating Tiger Woods was only the start of an amazing week for Shaun Micheel. Now he has a chance to win the richest prize in golf.

Micheel outlasted Robert Karlsson in the World Match Play Championship for a 2-up win Saturday that put him into the final match against Paul Casey.

"I've been gaining a lot of confidence each day," Micheel said. "Beating Tiger can't do anything to hurt you."

Casey kept the ball in play and kept the pressure on Colin Montgomerie, his third straight victory without going all 36 holes, taking the win 6 and 5.

The winner gets 1-million pounds ($1.87-million), the largest check in official tournaments worldwide.

"I've never had the opportunity to play for that much money before," Casey said, who could go to No. 1 in the Order of Merit on the European Tour with a victory. "Where else can we win a million pounds? Unless we get on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and I can't answer those questions. So this is the best opportunity I've got."

PGA TOUR: Ben Curtis played his third consecutive excellent round to share the third-round lead with Charles Howell at the 84 Lumber Classic in Farmington, Pa. Howell shot 4-under 68 to match Curtis at 12-under 204 for the tournament. Curtis had his second consecutive 69 after starting with 66. Robert Garrigus, the most surprising name among the leaders, shot 68 and was joined by Hunter Mahan and Greg Owen one shot off the lead. Clearwater's Greg Kraft, Bo Van Pelt and Ryan Moore were another shot back at 10-under 206.

EUROPEAN PGA: Ian Poulter made a 20-foot putt at the last hole to shoot 8-under 64, taking a four-shot lead after the third round of the Madrid Masters in Spain. Poulter birdied eight holes over the final 13 to total 19-under 197. Former winner Ricardo Gonzalez had his third consecutive 67 and was at 201.

CHAMPIONS: Don Pooley birdied half the holes for 8-under 64, leaving him a stroke ahead of Keith Fergus and Massy Kuramoto after two rounds of the Constellation Energy Classic in Hunt Valley, Md. Pooley finished 10-under 134. Fergus shot bogey-free 66, and Kuramoto had 67.

NATIONWIDE: Mario Tiziani of Michigan shot 6-under 65 to take the lead after the third round of the Albertsons Boise Open in Idaho. Tiziani was at 17-under 196, two strokes ahead of Kevin Stadler, who shot 1-under 70.

ACAPULCO SKINS: Annika Sorenstam beat Lorena Ochoa in Acapulco, Mexico, finishing with $165,000 in the two-player event at Tres Vidas. "It was a good game," Ochoa said. "I fought like I'd hoped. I don't like to lose, and that's why I asked for a rematch, and she already told me, 'Yes.' "

USGA SENIOR AMATEUR: North Carolina real estate agent Paul Simson shot 4-under 68 for a two-stroke lead after the first round of stroke-play qualifying in Newburgh, Ind. The 55-year-old had five birdies and a bogey.

FUNERAL: Patty Berg, a pioneer and founding member of the LPGA Tour, was remembered at funeral services in Fort Myers as an advocate for the game. Ms. Berg, who won an LPGA Tour-record 15 major titles, died Sept. 10 of complications from Alzheimer's disease. She was 88.