Els' Struggle Ends for at Least a Day With Match-Play Victory

From Staff and Wire Reports

South African Ernie Els, who had earnings of $3 million and victories in the U.S. Open and World Match Play Championship last year but only one victory this season, beat American Lee Janzen, 4 and 3, in the 36-hole quarterfinals at the World Match Play Championship on Friday at Virginia Water, England.

"Last year was the first year I actually broke through in world golf, maybe a freak," said Els. "But this year is a little harder and I've had to work harder at my game. Last year I had a lot of chances and every time I had a chance I won at tournament. This year has been different."

Els this year missed the cut at the U.S. Open and the Masters, faded badly in the British Open on the final day and stumbled in the PGA with a chance to win.

In the other matches, Masters champion Ben Crenshaw went out, 3 and 2, to Italian Ryder Cup member Costantino Rocca, Bernhard Langer of Germany defeated Nick Price of Zimbabwe, 1 up, and Australian Steve Elkington beat Colin Montgomerie of Scotland, 3 and 1.


Paul Azinger needed only 24 putts--he had eight one-putt greens on the front nine--and shot his third consecutive 67 at the Las Vegas Invitational. He is within four shots of the lead, his best performance since returning to the tour after battling cancer.

David Edwards shot a seven-under-par 67 and Jim Furyk shot a 65 to share the lead at 197, 18 under. Billy Mayfair is one stroke behind.

Azinger, who resumed playing in January, opened the season with a fourth-place showing in the Hawaiian Open but has struggled since, missing eight of 21 cuts.


Walt Zembriski shot a five-under-par 67 to take a one-stroke lead in the first round of the Raley's Senior Gold Rush tournament at Rancho Murieta. J.C. Snead, Graham Marsh and Dick Goetz each shot 68. Eight players, including Hale Irwin, Jim Colbert, Chi Chi Rodriguez and Bob Charles, were two shots off the pace.


Betsy King, Laura Davies and Pat Bradley were tied for the second-round lead in the World Championship of Women's Golf at Cheju Island, South Korea, with 138 totals.

King and Bradley fired 2-under-par 70s to join Davies, who shot a 71. Defending champion Beth Daniel had the best round Friday, a 68, which tied her at 139 with Val Skinner. Two back at 140 were Dottie Mochrie and Rosie Jones.


Chanda Rubin advanced to the semifinals of the Porsche Grand Prix tournament at Filderstadt, Germany, by defeating sixth-seeded Natasha Zvereva of Belarus, 7-5, 7-5. Rubin will face Iva Majoli of Croatia, who rallied from a first-set loss to beat second-seeded Mary Pierce, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Anke Huber of Germany defeated countrywoman Petra Begerow, 6-3, 6-2, and Gabriela Sabatini needed only 52 minutes to defeat Brenda Schultz-McCarthy of the Netherlands, 6-2, 6-1.

Goran Ivanisevic, ranked seventh in the world, was upset by 14th-ranked Hendrik Dreekman of Germany, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-5), in the quarterfinals of the Seiko Super tournament at Tokyo. Top-seeded Michael Chang advanced to the semifinals with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Alexander Volkov, but Mark Philippoussis of Australia upset fourth-seeded Richard Krajicek, 6-7 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.

David Wheaton advanced to the semifinals of the Israel Open with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Radomir Vasek of the Czech Republic at Ramat Hasharon. Wheaton will play Jan Kroslak, who upset eighth-seeded Jason Stoltenberg of Australia, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. . . . MaliVai Washington, the defending champion, beat seventh-seeded Jonas Bjoerkman of Sweden, 6-2, 6-4, in the quarterfinals of the Czech Indoor tournament at Prague. Third-seeded Wayne Ferreira of South Africa defeated Australian Patrick Rafter, 6-4, 6-4.


A record 169 entries have been received for soccer's 1998 World Cup in France, and FIFA, the world governing body, said more may be on the way. FIFA had set Sept. 30 as a final date for entries, but General Secretary Sepp Blatter extended the deadline until Friday.

Then, after a meeting of the organizing committee, Blatter said late entries would be considered, especially from Africa, where poor communications may have delayed submissions.

The Swiss soccer federation will allow national team Coach Roy Hodgson to become coach of Internazionale of Milan in Italy, provided he also remains with the Swiss squad through the European Championship in 1996.


Three top U.S. women middle-distance runners, Ruth Wysocki, PattiSue Plumer and Suzy Hamilton, will compete for $5,000 in prize money in Sunday's first Malibu Mile, starting at 10 a.m. at Zuma Beach. The Malibu Mile will be run in conjunction with the annual Nike Dolphin Run, expected to attract 3,000 runners in 5K and 10K races.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World