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Woods Moves Closer to His Second Title : Golf: He wins to earn berth in 36-hole U.S. Amateur final against Marucci.

August 27, 1995|From Associated Press

NEWPORT, R.I. — Defending champion Tiger Woods beat one 43-year-old in the U.S. Amateur semifinals Saturday to earn the right to play another in the 36-hole final.

Woods, who became the youngest-ever amateur champion last year, will face George Marucci, who ended 18-year-old Steve Scott's bid to replace Woods as the youngest winner, in Sunday's final.

The last repeat champion was Jay Sigel in 1983.

Woods, 19, advanced with a 2-up victory over Mark Plummer of Manchester, Maine. Woods consistently drove longer than Plummer, but kept him in the match by narrowly missing a string of birdie putts on the back nine at Newport Country Club.

"It's just one of those days when you hit what I would consider perfect putts," Woods said. "And I just hit edge after edge after edge."

Plummer, an eight-time Maine Amateur champion and two-time New England amateur winner, last reached match play in the U.S. Amateur in 1983 and had never won a match in the tournament before his semifinal run this past week. He defeated Jason Enloe, of Decatur, Ill., 3 and 2 in Saturday morning's quarterfinals.

Overmatched by Woods' power, Plummer nonetheless kept close all the way. Woods surrendered two 1-up leads in the early going, but the match turned on 14 and 15, where Plummer bogeyed as Woods made par.

Woods rolled a birdie 10-foot putt to the right of the pin on the par-3 14th, but Plummer rimmed a three-footer for par, enabling Woods to go 1-up.

Woods' second shot on the par-4 15th rolled down the high side of the green within five feet of the cup.

Plummer's tee shot went into a bunker on the right side of the fairway and his second shot left him 20 feet in front of the green. His third shot died 12 feet short of the pin and he missed the par putt.

Woods missed his birdie putt, but Plummer conceded the par, putting Woods 2-up.

"I was very patient," said Woods, who earlier Saturday won a quarterfinal match 5 and 3 over Scott Kammann of White Pine, Tenn. "I knew this guy was going to be a tough match, a fighter."

Plummer fought back by parring 16 as Woods bogeyed, dropping his second shot into a trap behind the green. Both players parred 17.

Plummer's tee shot on 18 went way right into the rough and his second shot landed at the base of a hill leading to the green. Woods reached the green in two and missed a birdie putt, but Plummer missed his putt for par and conceded the final 1 1/2-foot putt.

Marucci, an auto dealer from Berwyn, Pa., reached his first U.S. Amateur final--and qualified for next year's Masters--by winning 19th-hole playoffs in both his Saturday matches.

In the semifinals, Marucci's 4-foot birdie putt after chipping out of the left bunker eliminated Scott, of Coral Springs, Fla., whom he trailed 1-down after 16 holes.

Earlier Saturday, Marucci defeated Tim Jackson of Germantown, Tenn., in a quarterfinal match. Scott eliminated Duke Delcher of Linwood, N.J., 3 and 2.

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