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Woods Roars Back to Advance at U.S. Amateur

August 26, 1994|From Associated Press

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Tiger Woods won four consecutive holes on the back nine Thursday and rallied to defeat former champion Buddy Alexander and advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur Golf Championship.

"As far as comebacks are concerned, this is a pretty big one," said Woods, 18, who graduated from Western High School in June. He was three down with five holes to play, but needed to make only one birdie in his comeback.

"I've never lost a match like that," said Alexander, the 1986 Amateur champion and the golf coach at the University of Florida. "I didn't hit a good shot after the 12th hole. I just played lousy."

Woods displayed the same poise that carried him to three successive USGA Junior titles and three prestigious amateur championships this summer.

After slicing Alexander's advantage to 2-up with a routine par at the rugged 438-yard 14th on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, Woods punctuated a 17-foot par putt on No. 15 by enthusiastically pumping his right arm.

"I willed that putt into the hole," said Woods, who ran his match-play record this summer to 16-1. "I knew if I showed some energy on that putt, it would demoralize him. Maybe it worked."

On the 132-yard 17th, Woods' 9-iron stopped inches from dropping into the water. His chip was followed by a four-foot par putt, giving him a 1-up lead after Alexander three-putted from 28 feet.

Woods was sharper in his morning match, a 6 and 5 victory over Michael Flynn of Rochester, N.H.

Ed Gibstein of Matinecock, N.Y., at 35, the oldest player still in the field, rallied to win four consecutive holes down the stretch for a 3-and-2 victory over Anthony Rodriguez of College Station, Tex.

Ted Oh of Torrance lost in the second round, 4 and 3, to Tim Jackson of Germantown, Tenn. Defending champion John Harris, 41, of Edina, Minn., bogeyed the second playoff hole and lost to Chuck Jabaley of Cleveland, Tenn.

The semifinals are Saturday and the 36-hole final is Sunday.

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