Forsyth battles to maiden success

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The Independent Online

Alistair Forsyth put the controversy of losing his European Tour card firmly behind him with a dramatic maiden victory in the Carlsberg Malaysian Open.

Forsyth fired birdies at two of the last three holes in regulation play to force his way into the play-off with the Australian Stephen Leaney. The Scot, playing here on a sponsor's invite, then holed from 15 feet for a birdie at the second extra hole in sudden-death to claim the £112,894 first prize and a valuable two-year exemption.

Forsyth lost his card in contentious circumstances last year, missing out by just one place on the Order of Merit after Sergio Garcia was included despite only playing in 10 events – one less than the minimum requirement for membership. The Spaniard was credited with 11 due to the cancellation of the American Express Championships in the aftermath of 11 September terrorist attacks.

Ernie Els shot his second six-under-par 66 of the week to open up an eight-stroke lead over Tiger Woods and the Australian Peter Lonard at the Genuity Championship in Miami.

The South African Els' 66 was three shots better than anyone else in the third round at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa. "I had a good day," said Els, 32.

Sweden's Annika Sorenstam, the top women's player in the game last year, launched her 2002 LPGA season in style with a play-off victory in the Takefuji Classic in Hawaii on Saturday.

Sorenstam birdied the first play-off hole to beat Canada's defending champion, Lorie Kane.

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