GOLF / U.S. AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIPS : Woods Has to Take Trip to Earn Title

From Associated Press

Tiger Woods moved one step closer to golf history Saturday when he beat three-time Kent All-American Eric Frishette, 5 and 3, in the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur championship.

Stanford-bound Woods, 18, of Cypress, will become the youngest champion in the 94 years of the national amateur championship if he beats Trip Kuehne of Oklahoma State in today’s 36-hole final.

Kuehne, of McKinney, Tex., beat his Oklahoma State teammate and close friend Kris Cox, 1-up, in the other semifinal.

Should Woods prevail on the TPC Sawgrass course, he would move past five 19-year-old amateur champions in the record book--including Jack Nicklaus.


“Records are a product of good golf,” said Woods, who at 15 became the youngest USGA national junior champion and started an unprecedented run of three consecutive titles. “What matters is that I take care of business, do what I need to do.”

Woods and Kuehne have both locked up invitations to next year’s Masters and the winner will play in both the U.S. and British Opens.

Ever since his second-round scare--a 1-up victory over 1986 amateur champion Buddy Alexander--Woods has easily marched to the title match with his distance, finesse and all-round game.

“No one made a run at me the whole tournament like Tiger did,” Frishette, of Carroll, Ohio, said, alluding to Woods’ five birdies over the last 10 holes.


On the 582-yard ninth hole, Woods’ 283-yard second shot stopped five yards short of the green. He also birdied the 529-yard 11th, rifling a 235-yard three-iron pin high for a routine two-putt that put him 4-up.

Kuehne will also be seeking to make golf history today. Five weeks ago, his sister Kelli won the USGA junior national title, meaning two golfers from the same family could win USGA titles in the same year. “It’s hard to comprehend that my sister and I have this opportunity,” Kuehne said.

Cox lost his shot to beat Kuehne when he bogeyed the 497-yard 16th, and then missed a relatively short birdie putt on 17, a 132-yard island hole.