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Campbell leads way


Ireland's Paul McGinley plays out of a bunker during the first round of his final against New Zealand's Michael Campbell. 
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Ireland's Paul McGinley plays out of a bunker during the first round of his final against New Zealand's Michael Campbell. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
The Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

VIRGINIA WATER, England — U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell won the World Match Play Championship on Sunday, defeating Paul McGinley 2 and 1 in the final by capitalizing on his opponent’s errors in the closing holes.

Campbell wrapped up the match at Wentworth with a chip to 1 foot of the cup on the 35th green. He won the 33rd and 34th holes when McGinley bogeyed after poor shots.

“I was fortunate to win those holes,” Campbell said.

Campbell earned $1.8 million, the largest prize in golf. The New Zealander also advanced to the top of the European Order of Merit ahead of Retief Goosen. Campbell beat the South African in the semifinals Saturday.

Campbell won the opening hole and never trailed, but also never led by more than one through the morning round. He was 3 up after 23 holes, but his Irish rival won the 24th, 25th and 27th to square the match. They were still even with four to play.

“I didn’t play as well today as I had the first three days,” McGinley said. “If this was a stroke play event I’d have been well ahead because I played so well the first three days. But that’s the way it goes. Michael played well today.”

McGinley also finished second at the BMW Championship on the same course in May to Angel Cabrera, his semifinal victim at this event.

“It hurts like you can’t believe that I finished second in two big tournaments here,” said McGinley, the hero of Europe’s 2002 Ryder Cup victory at The Belfry. “I’m bitterly disappointed.”

On the 34th hole, McGinley pushed a 5-iron approach to the right and lost the hole to a par. At the next hole, he pulled his drive deep into the trees, from where he could only play out sideways for another bogey.

“Over the two rounds today I made a lot of course management mistakes, four or five times,” McGinley said. “You can’t miss it right on 15 when the pin is on the left. And you can’t hit it left on 16. Those two cost me.”

The long 30th also was crucial. Campbell’s second shot sailed left and finished near a barbed-wire fence, 6 inches from being out of bounds. But he was able to play a chip to 5 feet and holed for a birdie to win it. McGinley had a par.

“If I win the hole, to have gone from 3 down to 1 up in a few holes would have been massive psychologically,” McGinley said. “I might have won from there.”

PGA Tour

Jason Gore stood up to an excellent late-season field, and to the very pressure that wilted him three months ago at the U.S. Open. Most of all, he stood up to Sunday.

Gore, whose last-day unraveling already is part of Open lore, held off the 84 Lumber Classic field in Farmington, Pa., with big drives and steely nerves to win on the PGA Tour barely a month after being stuck in golf’s minor leagues.

Gore’s four-stroke lead with five holes to play was down to one over runner-up Carlos Franco by No. 18, but Gore landed his approach shot on the 468-yard par-4 on the lower fringe of the green. With a playoff looming if he didn’t get up and down, Gore deftly lagged his putt from 91 1/2 feet to within 22 inches and tapped in for a final-round 2-under 70 and the Tour victory he once thought might never come.

Gore, who won $792,000, never finished higher than 18th during two previous stays on the PGA Tour, in 2001 and 2003. Now, he joins Paul Stankowski (1996) as the only winners on the developmental Nationwide and PGA tours in the same year.

His 14-under 274 was three shots better than third-place finisher Ben Crane (67).

LPGA Tour

Annika Sorenstam closed with a 2-over 73 and withstood a late charge from rookie Paula Creamer to win the John Q. Hammons Classic in Broken Arrow, Okla., for the third time in four years.

Sorenstam made 15 straight pars to start the final round and overcame bogeys on two of the last three holes to finish one shot ahead of Creamer at 5-under 208 for her seventh LPGA Tour win in 14 starts this season and 63rd overall. She also won a European Tour event in Sweden this year.

The 19-year-old Creamer, who paced the United States to a 15 1/2 -12 1/2 victory over Sorenstam and the European team in last week’s Solheim Cup, started the final round five strokes off the lead.

Sweden’s Maria Hjorth (75) and American Diana D’Alessio (69) tied for third at 2 under. France’s Karine Icher closed with a 75 and was the only other player under par for the tournament, finishing at 1 under.

Champions Tour

Bob Gilder won his first Champions Tour event in more than two years, shooting a 5-under-par 67 to capture the Constellation Energy Classic in Hunt Valley, Md., by four strokes over Morris Hatalsky.

Gilder never trailed after opening with a 64 on Friday. He chipped in from 40 feet for par on the final hole to finish at 18-under 198, tying the tournament record set by Christy O’Connor in 1999.

Gilder earned $255,000, more than half the sum he made over his first 22 tournaments this year. Before this weekend, he finished in the top 10 only twice in 2005. It was his eighth career victory on the Champions Tour, the first since the 2003 Emerald Coast Classic.

Hatalsky shot a 69. His birdie on the 18th hole enabled him to break a tie with Curtis Strange and earn $149,600 for second place.

Strange shot a 69 for a 203 total to take third, his best finish since joining the tour this year. D.A. Weibring (71) came in fourth, one shot ahead of Tom Watson (71) and John Bland (68).

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