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Els, Garcia to Meet in Match Play

October 19, 2002

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VIRGINIA WATER, England (AP) _ Ernie Els will face Sergio Garcia in the World Match play final after both advanced Saturday.

Els beat Vijay Singh 3 and 2 and Sergio Garcia beat Michael Campbell 2 and 1 with the help of an eagle on the 17th hole.

Sunday will be the fifth World Match Play final for Els, who won three in a row from 1994-96.

The two finalists are good friends, and Garcia recently bought Els’ house in Orlando, Fla., when Els moved into a different place on the same street.

``It should be good fun. He’s a great player and a good friend of mine,″ Garcia said. ``But both of us will be trying as hard as we can.″

Els said the two had a good relationship.

``I wouldn’t say I’m a father figure to him. Maybe an elder brother,″ Els said.

Pars were enough for Els to win the first three holes as Singh bogeyed them all.

Els went four ahead at the short 5th, but Singh won three of the next 10 holes to get back to one down. Then he drove into trees at the tough 16th hole and double-bogeyed at the 17th.

Singh’s wild second shot at the 19th struck a woman spectator on the head _ she was not injured _ and he fell five behind after five holes of the afternoon. He got three of them back, two when Els bogeyed on the 29th and 30th holes, but Els wrapped up the match on the 34th green.

``I was always trying to catch up after losing the first three holes,″ Singh said. ``I thought I had a chance when he gave me the 29th and 30th, but he holed from 15 feet at the next and that was it.″

Campbell won the first two holes and the 6th against Garcia, but the Spaniard battled back to be level at the break.

At the 26th, Garcia’s drive finished in a spectator’s coat, but the man dropped it out and there was no penalty.

Campbell beat Nick Faldo in a record-setting match and Ian Woosnam on Friday, and fatigue caught up with him against Garcia in the afternoon.

Bad drives on the 30th hole and at the next cost him both holes. Campbell surrendered to Garcia’s eagle chip at the 35th while he faced an 18-foot eagle chance.

``It felt good to make the chip and not let him putt,″ Garcia said. ``In 36-hole matches, unless you go five or six down, you can always come back.″