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The Inside Track | NEWSWIRE

Garcia Is on Way to Goal With Victory at Hawaii

January 07, 2002|From Staff and Wire Services

Spain's Sergio Garcia set his goals high and took a big leap in the first golf tournament of the year, making birdie on the first playoff hole Sunday to defeat PGA champion David Toms in the Mercedes Championships at Kapalua, Hawaii.

Garcia, who wants to win the money list on the PGA Tour and the European tour, holed a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole in regulation to close with a nine-under-par 64 and force a playoff with Toms, who missed a birdie putt from about the same distance.

They finished at 18-under 274.

Returning to the 18th for the playoff, Toms hit a sand wedge from mangled rough to about 30 feet and two-putted for par.

Garcia, 21, pitched to about 10 feet past the hole and made the putt to claim the $720,000 winner's check.

No one has won the money titles in the U.S. and Europe in the same year.

"You can't dream of a better way to start the year," Garcia said.

Tiger Woods had enough money to do it in 1999 and 2000, but didn't play enough European events to be a member.

Garcia plans to play the minimum 15 in the U.S. and 11 in Europe.

Woods closed with a 65 and finished in a tie for 10th, seven strokes behind.

Aware of a threatening letter containing cyanide sent to the U.S. Embassy in New Zealand last month, Woods said he had no plans to withdraw from the New Zealand Open.

"You have to go on living your life," Woods said. "It's unfortunate that people have these types of views and do these types of acts."

New Zealand police said the threats were directed at the tournament and not Woods, but added the threats were made because Woods was scheduled to play.

College Football

Miami juniors Clinton Portis and Phillip Buchanon said they will make themselves eligible for the NFL draft and two more Hurricanes, tight end Jeremy Shockey and defensive tackle William Joseph, might do the same.

The deadline for underclassmen to apply for April's draft is Friday.

Florida junior offensive lineman Mike Pearson said he will make himself available for the NFL draft.

Pearson graduated in December and is planning to be married in the spring.

Other Florida underclassmen--cornerback Lito Sheppard and receivers Jabar Gaffney and Reche Caldwell--have said they plan to leave.

Junior receiver Taylor Jacobs, the most valuable player in the Orange Bowl, told The Gainesville Sun he might leave also.

Winter Sports

Tristan Gale clinched an Olympic berth and Lincoln DeWitt tightened his grip on a spot in the Salt Lake Games with victories on the final day of the U.S. skeleton trials at Park City, Utah.

Gale finished 21-hundredths of a second ahead of Lea Ann Parsley to lock up the one spot the American women are guaranteed at the Olympics.

DeWitt, last year's World Cup champion, defeated Brian McDonald by eight-hundredths of a second.

The United States is expected to secure the third spot for DeWitt based on team World Cup standings, but that won't be known until after competition in Switzerland on Jan. 17.

Nick Sullivan beat Jon Myles in a two-day raceoff at Park City, earning the last spot on the U.S. Olympic men's luge team.

Bode Miller of the U.S. won his second World Cup slalom event this season, this time at Abelboden, Switzerland.

Germany's Sven Hannawald became the first ski jumper in the 50 years of Four Hills competition to sweep, taking first place at Bishofshofen, Austria.

Shannon Bahrke of the United States scored 26.04 points of a possible 30, finishing ahead of countrywoman Hannah Hardaway (25.47) to win a women's mogul event in the Freestyle Skiing World Cup at Oberstdorf, Germany.

Finland's Janne Lahtela won the men's mogul and American Travis Ramos was third.

Tennis

Britain's Tim Henman defeated Australia's Mark Philippoussis, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3, in the final of the Australian Men's Hardcourt Championships at Adelaide.... Argentina's Guillermo Canas won the $400,000 TATA Open at Madras, India, beating Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan, 6-4, 7-6 (2), in the final.

Miscellany

Odds-on favorite Bella Bella Bella had to work hard through the stretch to win the four-horse Santa Ysabel Stakes by a neck over Tamarack Bay at Santa Anita.

Chris McCarron rode Bella Bella Bella in the $107,000 race. Bella Bella Bella paid $2.80 and $2.10, with no show betting.

Longtime St. Louis Cardinal broadcaster Jack Buck, 77, was in stable condition at a St. Louis hospital after intestinal surgery.

Buck had lung cancer surgery in December.

Passings

Fred Taylor, who coached an Ohio State men's basketball team featuring Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek and a reserve named Bobby Knight to the 1960 NCAA championship, died Sunday at Columbus, Ohio. He was 77. Story Page B9.

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