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Metropolitan picked as site of 2001 Match Play

Metropolitan Golf Club, the host course for 26 Australian tournaments during its 108-year history, was selected Monday night as the site of the Match Play Championship in 2001.

The International Federation of PGA Tours said in December the Match Play would be in Victoria. The other finalists were said to be Kingston Heath and Royal Melbourne, site of the Presidents Cup in December.

The top 64 players from the world ranking qualify for the Match Play. Jeff Maggert won the inaugural event, beating Andrew Magee in 38 holes at La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, Calif., to claim the $1 million first prize from a $5 million purse.

The 2001 tournament will be played Jan. 3-7, the first official event of the year. The Mercedes Championship, limited to only PGA Tour winners from the previous season, will be the following week in Hawaii.

Metropolitan is regarded as the one of the toughest and best-conditioned courses in Australia. The club dates to 1891 and moved to Oakleigh, a southeastern suburb of Melbourne, in 1908.

Since 1930, Metropolitan has played host to eight Victoria Opens, seven Australian Opens, five Australian PGA Championships, four Australian Men's Amateurs and two Ladies Amateurs.

Its last tournament was the 1997 Australian Open, where Lee Westwood beat Greg Norman on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff.

The Match Play will be at La Costa in February, and return to La Costa in 2002.

The other WGC events are the NEC Invitational in August, which is limited to Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup players and will be played at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio; and the Stroke Play Championship, to be played in November in Spain.

The World Cup Team championship will begin in 2000 in South Africa.

TRW