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PGA: Stephen Ames coasts to six shot win
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PGA TOUR

THE INTERNATIONAL, Castle Pines Golf Club, Castle Rock, Colorado - Many of the PGA Tour's top stars return to action this week at The International. Defending champion Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman, Jose Maria Olazabal, Sergio Garcia, Mark Calcavecchia and recently crowned British Open champion David Duval are all expected to be on hand for the only tournament on the PGA Tour that uses the modified Stableford scoring system.

Players receive two points for a birdie, five points for an eagle and eight points for a double-eagle. Players lose one point for a bogey and three points for a double-bogey or worse, with a par receiving no points. The field gets cut to the top-72 and ties after the second round and, in another unique feature of The International, a second cut occurs after 54 holes, leaving the top-36 to compete for the title on the final day.

Last year, Els set several tournament records on the way to extending his streak of wins in consecutive years to seven. Els set marks for total points after two rounds (34), three rounds (40) and tied the 72-hole record of 48 points set by Phil Mickelson in 1997. Although his lead was trimmed to three points early on Sunday when Stuart Appleby birdied his first three holes, Els birdied two holes on the front to bump the lead to five. Mickelson got to within two points of the lead after an eagle at 17 but Els birdied the same hole and marched on to victory.

Els has struggled in 2001, thanks in part to a back injury that recently saw him return to action at the Open two weeks ago. All 14 previous champions are scheduled to compete this week. Mickelson is the only two-time winner of this event and the tournament's all-time leading money winner. Castle Pines Golf Club, designed by Jack Nicklaus, features two par-five holes over 600 yards in length, including the 644-yard opening hole.

Castle Pines has hosted this event since its inception in 1986, when Ken Green defeated last week's Dutch Open champion, Bernhard Langer. There have been two playoffs in the event's history, the most recent in 1996 when Clarence Rose outlasted 1992 champion Brad Faxon.

The purse was increased by $500,000 from last year. USA Network carries the broadcast for the first two rounds before CBS takes over on the weekend. Next week, Rocco Mediate will defend his title at the Buick Open, the final tune-up before the PGA Championship.

LPGA TOUR

WEETABIX WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN, Sunningdale Golf Club (Old Course), Berkshire, England - The Women's British Open replaced the du Maurier Classic as the LPGA Tour's fourth major championship. Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb, the women who own the three other majors this season, got to tune-up with the big boys Monday night, as they paired with Tiger Woods and David Duval in the made-for-TV Battle at Bighorn.

Webb defended her title at the U.S. Women's Open and then completed the career Grand Slam with her win at the LPGA Championship. Sorenstam capped off her brilliant run at the beginning of the season, which included an LPGA record 59, with her victory at the Nabisco Championship. Webb can join Babe Zaharias (1950) and Pat Bradley (1986) as the only players to win three major championships in one season.

Last year, she was the only golfer to break 70 in the first round when she opened with a 68 but then stumbled the rest of the way. Sophie Gustafson took a commanding seven-shot lead into the final round but imploded on Sunday with a 75. She held on for the victory after she blasted out of a trap on the 18th to five feet to set up a birdie.

The tournament could have gone to a playoff had she missed the putt and Meg Mallon converted an eagle attempt. Gustafson has finished in the top-10 in this event the last three years, with a second and a sixth in 1998 and '99, respectively. Gustafson has one win this season, at the Memorial of Naples early in the year. Sorenstam has three top-three finishes in the last six years.

Webb, Sherri Steinhauer and Debbie Massey are the only two-time winners of the event, with Steinhauer and Massey winning back-to-back titles. In the majors this year, Dottie Pepper, Laura Diaz, Sorenstam and Webb are the only players who have two top-10s. Sunningdale Golf Club hosted this event in 1997 when Webb captured the title. Royal Birkdale Golf Club was the venue last year, while Woburn Golf & Country Club hosted the tournament a total of nine times.

The Women's British Open will feature more players from the Evian Ladies European Tour. This event has been part of the LPGA Tour since 1994. The purse was increased by $250,000 from last year to $1,500,000. ESPN will show the first two rounds before ABC takes over on the weekend. The LPGA Tour returns to the U.S. next week for the Wendy's Championship for Children at New Albany. Lorie Kane is the defending champion.

SENIOR TOUR

LIGHTPATH LONG ISLAND CLASSIC, Meadow Brook Club, Jericho, New York - Bruce Fleisher will try and make it three Lightpath Long Island Classic titles in a row this week. Last year, Fleisher went wire-to-wire for his second consecutive win in this event. He posted a two-shot victory over Dana Quigley and set new records for 18 holes (63), 36 holes (129) and for the tournament (198). Fleisher joined Lee Trevino and George Archer as the only players to successfully defend their titles in this event. Archer claimed three titles in a row here from 1990-92.

Fleisher, the reigning U.S. Senior Open champion, became the only player to win wire-to-wire in Long Island as he successfully defended his third title in 2000 (Royal Caribbean Classic and Home Depot Invitational). Fleisher went on to win the Home Depot Invitational for the third consecutive time in early May of this year and if he wins this week, will become the first professional golfer to three-peat twice in the same season. In the 13 previous years, only four times has a first-round leader or co-leader gone on to win the tournament.

In 1997, Quigley became the sixth player in Senior Tour history to win a tournament after open qualifying on Monday, when he outlasted Jay Sigel in a playoff. Meadow Brook Club has hosted this event since its inception in 1988. Butch Baird carded a round of 58 during the 1989 event, which he went on to win, but the course that year was shortened to 16 holes due to adverse weather conditions.

Bobby Wadkins, the younger brother of Senior Tour player Lanny Wadkins, turned 50 on July 26 and is in the field for his first Senior Tour event this year in Long Island. The purse was increased by $200,000 from last year. PAX will show Friday's action before CNBC has the tape-delayed final two rounds. Next week the Senior Tour moves to Minnesota for the 3M Championship where Ed Dougherty will defend his title.

EUROPEAN TOUR

VOLVO SCANDINAVIAN MASTERS, Barseback Golf & Country Club, Malmo, Sweden - An impressive field gathers for the Volvo Scandinavian Masters this week, including defending champion Lee Westwood, two-time champion and local favorite Jesper Parnevik, and presumably with only one driver, Ian Woosnam, who returns to action for the first time since his mishap at the Open.

Westwood cruised to a three-shot win last year after opening with a course- record 63. En route to victory, Westwood established a new 36-hole record at 130, matched the 54-hole mark of 199 and fell two shy of the tournament record with a 270. He joined Parnevik and Montgomerie as the only players to win this event twice. Westwood's win here last year was his fourth of five in his amazing 2000 campaign.

More highly-ranked players are competing in Europe as they try to jockey for a position on Sam Torrance's 2001 Ryder Cup team, with places set for the squad in a little more than month. Parnevik is one player who can increase his chances of clinching an automatic berth with a good week. The colorful Swede has spent most of his weeks in the U.S. on the PGA Tour and rarely competes on the European Tour.

Raymond Russell, who finished third last year, was the only player to post four rounds in the 60s. Barry Lane equaled Westwood's course record with a 63 in the second round. Barseback is hosting this event for the fifth time while last year's venue, Kungsangen, held the event twice. Forsgardens hosted the tournament in 1993 and '96 while Drottningholm Golf Club played host in '91, the first year of the event, and in '94. The Golf Channel has the telecast all four days. Next week the European Tour moves to Wales for the Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open where Steen Tinning will defend his title.

BUY.COM TOUR

OMAHA CLASSIC, The Champions Club, Omaha, Nebraska - David Berganio, Jr. parred the second playoff hole last year to defeat Ahmad Bateman and win his third career Buy.com Tour event. Berganio, who will not be on hand to defend his title because he is currently a member of the PGA Tour, two-putted from 20 feet to secure the win.

Bateman left himself a six-foot par save to extend the playoff but missed. Each player had a chance to win the tournament in regulation but Berganio missed a three-footer for par at the final hole and Bateman's six-foot birdie try also failed to fall into the cup. This is the sixth year of the event, all hosted by The Champions Club.

In the tournament's history, Chris Smith (1997) is the only player to win wire-to- wire. The last Buy.com Tour player to go wire-to-wire was Brett Quigley when he won the Arkansas Classic this year. The par-four, 471-yard 15th hole was the most difficult at last year's event and the 26th most difficult on the 2000 tour with a stroke average of 4.340. The Golf Channel will broadcast all four rounds. The Buy.com Tour moves to Arkansas next week for the Fort Smith Classic at Hardscrabble Country Club where Tim Clark is the defending champion.


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