Defending champion Ernie Els beat Padraig Harrington, 5 and 4, yesterday to move into the final of the World Match Play Championship in Virginia Water, England, and stay on course for a record sixth title.
Els, who shares the record of five World Match Play titles with Gary Player and Seve Ballesteros, will face Lee Westwood, who withstood a late comeback by Miguel Angel Jimenez to win the other semifinal, 1 up.
Westwood was 5 up with eight holes to play before Jimenez won three straight and the 16th to make it close.
The winner receives $1.8 million, billed as golf's biggest prize.
Els, who turns 35 today, will be appearing in the final for a record seventh time. His only loss came against Vijay Singh in 1997. In the morning, Els missed six short putts, including 5-footers at the 15th and 16th holes, both of which he lost.His lead was down to two, but he won the 17th and improved his putting in the afternoon, maintaining a three-hole lead over Harrington -- who had an injured right thumb -- the rest of the way.Jimenez defeated European Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Langer earlier in the day.LPGA -- Grace Park carded a 1-under-par 71 to hold on to the lead in the Samsung World Championship at Palm Desert, Calif., while Annika Sorenstam and Cristie Kerr moved within three shots. Park, who salvaged a bogey 5 on the final hole after she drove into desert brush, had trouble finding her ball, and took a penalty stroke for an unplayable lie, is at 200 in the elite 20-player event.
Sorenstam, whose 53 career LPGA Tour victories include three titles in this event, matched Kerr with a 69.
Amateur Michelle Wie turned in a 67 for the day's best round.
PGA -- Tom Lehman bounced back from an early bogey for a 3-under 69 to join Brent Geiberger (71) at 204 atop the leaderboard in the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro (N.C). Four players, including 2001 PGA champion David Toms, were one shot back, with another 10 within four strokes of the lead. Champions -- Mark McNulty had an eagle and five birdies in a seven-hole stretch en route to an 8-under 63 and a four-stroke lead after the second round of the SBC Championship in San Antonio.European -- Sergio Garcia fired a 2-under 68 to move into a tie with Simon Khan (71) after the third round of the Mallorca Classic.