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Tavistock Cup ends in a tie

Tiger Woods and Ernie Els can't seem to beat the dark -- or each other.

Woods shot a 31 on the back nine as Isleworth Country Club rallied to force a playoff against Lake Nona, but darkness fell after three extra holes Tuesday and the Tavistock Cup ended in a tie.

The matches were between two Orlando country clubs where several top tour players are members.

The finish was similar to the 2003 Presidents Cup in South Africa, when the matches ended in a tie and Woods and Els were picked for a sudden-death playoff. Under intense pressure, both made clutch putts for three holes before it was too dark to continue, and the United States and the International team shared the cup.

"It seems like we're making a habit of this -- finishing in the dark and ties all the time,'' said Els, the playing captain for Lake Nona.

It was much more casual on a sunny afternoon at Isleworth (Woods wore shorts), and they had some help. The matches were tied at 8 1/2, leading to the playoff -- a better-ball format featuring a quartet of two-time U.S. Open champions -- Woods and Lee Janzen for Isleworth against Els and Retief Goosen for Lake Nona.

Els extended the playoff with an amazing par from out of the trees, holing a 12-foot putt. Returning to the 464-yard 18th hole at Isleworth, Goosen holed a 30-foot birdie putt that appeared to give Lake Nona the victory, but then Woods made an 18-foot birdie to halve the hole.

On the third extra hole, Goosen and Els each failed to make 15-foot birdie putts to win.

Isleworth won last year at Lake Nona.

Each club will get the trophy for six months, and the rematch will return to Isleworth next year.

The Tavistock Cup was supposed to be a two-day competition, but was cut in half when the Players Championship did not finish until Monday because of rain delays.

Woods shot 66 for the low score of the event. It came one day after he closed 75-75 on the TPC at Sawgrass to tie for 53rd, his worst finish ever in golf's fifth major.

"That's 52 holes the last two days for me,'' Woods said. "I'm a little tired.''

Annika Sorenstam, coming off an eight-shot victory at the Kraft Nabisco Championship for her fifth straight win and eighth career major, returned from California to play for Lake Nona. She shot 73.

The $1.4 million purse was split among the 18 players on both teams, while Woods earned an extra $100,000 for the lowest score.

Isleworth seemed to have the advantage on the first playoff hole as no player found the fairway, but Goosen did not get on the green until his fourth shot. Els chipped his third 10 feet from the hole, but both Janzen and Woods had birdie putts to win.

Janzen and Woods both narrowly missed their birdie tries, then Els stepped up and drained the par putt, forcing a second hole.

Once again, no player found the short grass on Isleworth's closing hole. Janzen, Goosen and Els all hit the green, but were short of the flag. Woods, from the tree line, knocked his second to 15 feet. Goosen sank a 25-footer for birdie, but Woods calmly stroked home his putt to force a third hole in waning light.

In a contrast to the first two playoff holes, only Els failed to drive it in the fairway. Janzen and Woods both came up well short of the cup with their approach shots, but the Nona team took aim at the flag.

Goosen's second stopped 15 feet past the cup while Els was 10 feet short. Janzen ran his birdie try five feet past the hole, but Woods lagged his birdie try to tap-in range. Both Goosen and Els missed their tries, and the captains decided that the event would end in a tie.

"Everybody played well," said Isleworth captain Mark O'Meara. "It was fun."

Tuesday saw 17 singles matches with most golfers playing two 18-hole matches while paired in four foursomes. One match was a normal singles match.

Scott Hoch got Isleworth on the board with a point for his 72-77 victory over Mark McNulty.

Lake Nona took command of the next two groups. Justin Rose shot a 4-under 68 to defeat Robert Allenby (71) and Craig Parry (74). Rose's partner for Lake Nona, Trevor Immelman, picked up 1 1/2 points for his side as he tied Allenby with a 71.

Two-time U.S. Open champion Goosen added to Nona's total with a 5-under 67, which was good for two points. His partner Nick Faldo struggled to a 3-over 75, but it was good for one point as he bested Isleworth's John Cook (76). Cook's teammate Stuart Appleby carded a 73 to get one point for his side against Faldo.

Janzen, another two-time U.S. Open winner, birdied four of his final five holes en route to a 2-under 70. His Iselworth partner Charles Howell III bogeyed the last hole for an even-par 72, but it did not matter. They each collected two points as they topped Sorenstam and Ian Poulter (74).

In the anchor match, Woods birdied three of his last four for his 66. He defeated both Els (68) and Garcia (73), but Lake Nona collected a point a piece because O'Meara shot a 5-over 77.

 

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