Saturday, March 1, 2003

Woods rolls to Match Play quarters


Lickliter's 9-under 63 vaults him into Tucson Open lead

The Associated Press

CARLSBAD, Calif. - David Toms spent more time in the hospital with food poisoning than Tiger Woods spent on the course Friday.

Both advanced to the quarterfinals of the Match Play Championship. Woods made short work of Stephen Leaney, winning six of the first seven holes in a ruthless display that required only about two hours and ended on the 12th hole.

"It's not like I'm slapping it around," said Woods, who has played only 44 holes over his first three rounds. "I'm playing some pretty solid golf."

Toms turned in the gutsiest performance at La Costa.

Not only did he win the last two holes for a 1-up victory over Alex Cejka, there was serious doubt he could even walk to the first tee after spending four hours in the hospital overnight with food poisoning.

He ate two bananas and a piece of toast, enough to keep his legs from shaking. Adrenaline took over from there, and he holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to win.

TUCSON OPEN: Eighteen months ago, at age 32, not long after his first PGA Tour victory, Middletown native Frank Lickliter decided to make a drastic change in his swing.

He was good, but he wanted to consistently challenge the best. The results of that makeover were on full display when Lickliter shot a 9-under-par 63 to take a three-stroke lead at 14-under 130 halfway through the PGA Tour event.

"It's very satisfying," Lickliter said.. "It will be more satisfying if I'm here Sunday afternoon."

Lickliter, 33, won the Kemper Insurance Open in 2001 but missed every cut in the final two months of the season. He decided to overhaul his game with coach Randy Sinioer 18 months ago.

"I knew I had the talent," Lickliter said, "but I didn't have the information. I was one-dimensional."

Previously, Lickliter's game was strictly low liners right to left, and he struggled mightily on courses and pin placements that required any other kind of approach. Now his drives can sail high into the air, and they were usually right where they needed to be Friday.

Lickliter struggled through a poor 2001 season, then missed the cut in three of his five tournaments this year. His best finish going into Tucson was a tie for 12th at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. Lickliter had birdies on four of his first six holes to quickly go to 9 under.

DUBAI DESERT CLASSIC: Ernie Els will defend his title next week, a big boost for a tournament that already has lost top players concerned over a possible war in Iraq.

Tiger Woods was uncertain if he would play. But Colin Montgomerie and Nick Faldo decided not to play in the European Tour event.

Woods is receiving an appearance fee worth more than $2 million to play in Dubai, where he was the runner-up in 2001.

WOMEN'S AUSTRALIAN: Laura Davies led after two rounds with an 11-under 133, but defending champion Karrie Webb was lurking three strokes back in Sydney.

NATIONWIDE TOUR: American Joe Ogilvie and Australia's Marcus Fraser shot 1-under 70s to share the second-round lead at 6-under 136 in the Jacob's Creek Open in Adelaide, Australia.

AUGUSTA NATIONAL: The leader of a Ku Klux Klan splinter group plans to demonstrate in support of the golf club's all-male membership during the Masters, whether the club likes it or not.

Martha Burk, the lead advocate in pressing Augusta National to admit women members, said the club and the Klan deserve one another.

Col. Gary Powell of the Augusta-Richmond County Sheriff's Department said five groups have requested demonstration permits for Masters week, beginning April 7. They include the Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. Burk said her group plans to seek its permit application soon.

Golf on TV this weekend

WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship: ESPN (10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. today) and ABC (3-7 p.m. today-Sunday).

Chrysler Classic of Tucson: USA (11 p.m.-1 a.m. today-Sunday).

Women's Australian Open: Golf Channel (9 a.m.-noon today; 9 a.m.-noon, 11 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Sunday).

Nationwide Tour Jacob's Creek Open: Golf Channel: (1:30-4 p.m., 8 p.m.-1 a.m. today; 1:30-4 p.m. Sunday).




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