Golf: Lawrie left listless by weary Woods

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The Independent Online
TIGER WOODS and Davis Love III advanced to the championship round of the PGA Grand Slam with victories over Paul Lawrie and Jose Maria Olazabal. Two days after teaming up with Mark O'Meara to capture the World Cup in Malaysia, Woods began the defence of his Grand Slam title with a 4 & 2 victory over Lawrie, the reigning Open champion. Love carded a 6 & 5 win over the Spaniard.

Woods and Love were to square off here yesterday morning for the title in the tournament which pits the year's four major winners against each other. Woods earned his place with victory in the US PGA Championship, while Love came to Hawaii as a replacement for the late Payne Stewart, the US Open champion who died in a plane crash last month. Lawrie came as the British Open champion, while Olazabal arrived by way of victory at the Masters last April.

Love left little to chance with a 29 on the front nine before finishing off his thrashing of Olazabal 6 & 5 on the 13th.

"I played against a guy who was very hot today," Olazabal said. Love went one up with a birdie on the par-three third and never looked back.

"I grew up putting on Bermuda greens," Love said, "and I putted with confidence today." He also said he had been looking forward to playing match play. "I learned so much about match play from playing with Payne Stewart at the Ryder Cup," Love III said. "Today, I could feel Payne was right there with me on every shot."

Woods struggled through a ragged front nine, missing short putts on holes two, five, six and seven, and looking the worse for wear after flying all night from Japan to reach Kauai. He had been competing in the World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, last weekend, then played an exhibition match in Japan on Monday. "I wasn't feeling 100 per cent after flying in from Japan, and I didn't get a lot of sleep," Woods said. "When I started to wake up I started to play a lot better."

This is the third year in a row that Woods has competed in the Grand Slam at Poipu Bay, in 1997 as the Masters champion, in 1998 as first alternate when Mark O'Meara won both the Open and the Masters, and this year as US PGA champion.

"This course sets up well for me," the world No 1 said. "Most of the trouble is 260-270 yards off the tee, and I can fly most of it with my driver. Now, when the wind comes up, it's a different story.

"I was hitting sand irons to some greens today on holes where I can remember hitting four irons in the past because of the wind."

"Tiger can beat anybody's best ball on any given day," Love said. "So I'm going to have to play as well as I did today."

PGA GRAND SLAM OF GOLF MATCHPLAY TOURNAMENT (Hawaii): T Woods (US) bt P Lawrie (GB) 4 & 2; D Love (US) bt J M Olazabal (Sp) 6 & 5.