Golf / World Match Play: Faldo ready for the final reckoning: Another head-to-head between England and America beckons as Pavin finds the extra to shake off Montgomerie: Pavin bt Montgomerie at first extra hole

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COREY PAVIN and Colin Montgomerie, the Little and Large of yesterday's semi-finals, hardly promised to be an entertaining double act but when their stint on the Wentworth stage looked like dying a dreary death they suddenly hit the audience with an unexpectedly exciting finale.

Montgomerie won three of the last four holes to wipe out Pavin's comfortable lead and take the match down the first extra hole where the Scot lost after missing the green because of a shot he described as a 'stupid amateur error'.

But even after Pavin had beaten off Montgomerie's comeback, enjoyable was still far down the list of words you would use to describe this encounter. Pavin went so far as to call it 'an ugly win. He didn't play his best and I certainly didn't play mine.'

Now Pavin takes into today's encounter with Nick Faldo the distinction of being the first unseeded player to reach the final since 1979. Bill Rogers was the man who did it then and he went on to win, the last American to do so.

Thus, as he prepares to tackle the holder in what will be a replay of their pairing in the last round of this year's Open, the omens are on Pavin's side, as well as the fact that he has probably got his bad day out of the way. He and Montgomerie spent more time giving each other holes than winning them.

Neither was the dour atmosphere of the game helped by the Scotsman's habit of making Pavin putt out from distances even the most miserable sods in most clubs' winter league matches today would be happy to give. It was hardly an act to shake the moroseness out of the match. The American, clearly miffed by having to take so many virtual tap-ins, said later: 'I haven't had to sink so many short putts since Moby Dick was a minnow. And I gave him a three-footer on the first. I thought it was funny but that's part of matchplay.'

Montgomerie was unable to conceal his disgust at losing and was certainly in no mood to apologise for making his opponent putt out. 'I don't see why he should feel peeved. He shouldn't be expecting to be given putts. In my view, of all the putts that have been given during this tournament, and there must have been 100, at least two would have been missed. I'm not a rotten guy - I just didn't want to give a putt that might have been missed,' he said.

Montgomerie, who was three up afer the first four holes of the match, claimed that he lost the match, not at the 37th hole, but on the fifth, sixth and seventh holes of the afternoon round when he three-putted twice and then missed a five- footer for a birdie. Those lapses put Pavin three up.

It was then that the flimsy fastener that Montgomerie keeps on his temper finally gave way. He had already complained about a spectator who had his umbrella up at the side of a green. A finnicky moan, maybe, but the nearest rain was about 200 miles away at the time. But it was the clicking and flashing of spectators' cameras which caused an eruption that was still emitting hot lava in the interview room.

'One out of every three spectators seemed to have had a camera out there. They don't seem to realise how distracting it is. There is a rule against them bringing cameras on the course but they still persist,' an angry Montgomerie said. When it was suggested that perhaps he should learn not to be so easily distracted, he said: 'It is not for me to learn, it is for the spectators to stop bringing cameras.'

Pavin himself had a little spat in the midst of his bad start to the day and while a meeting between these two was never likely to be full of gaiety and amusement, they tend to make up for these deficiences by the quality of their golf.

They failed to do that yesterday and, on an admittedly difficult day, Pavin showed only flickering signs of the form that brought him a 65 against Nick Price on Friday. But at least he has another chance today to charm us.

----------------------------------------------------------------- PAVIN v MONTGOMERIE ----------------------------------------------------------------- Morning Afternoon Hole Par Yards Pavin M'gomerie Pavin M'gomerie 1 4 471 5 4 (+1) 5 5 2 3 155 3 3 2 (+1) 3 3 4 452 5 3 (+2) 4 4 4 5 501 5 4 (+3) 4 4 5 3 191 3 3 3 (+2) 4 6 4 356 4 5 (+2) 4 (+3) 5 7 4 399 3 4 (+1) 4 4 8 4 398 4 4 4 4 9 4 450 4 4 4 4 Out: 35 3373 36 34 34 37 10 3 186 3 2 (E) 3 3 11 4 376 4 4 4 4 12 5 483 4 4 4 4 13 4 441 4 4 4 4 14 3 179 3 3 3 3 15 4 466 5 5 5 (+2) 4 16 4 380 4 4 4 (+1) 3 17 5 571 4 (+1) 5 5 4 (E) 18 5 502 5 4 (E) 5 5 In: 37 3584 35 36 37 34 72 6957 71 70 71 71 All square Pavin won 37th hole -----------------------------------------------------------------