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ELS TO BATTLE MONTGOMERIE ONCE AGAIN

KOHLER, Wis. -- Ernie Els earned the chance to win $1 million and set up Colin Montgomerie's shot at vindication.

Els, who edged Montgomerie at the U.S. Open last month, won the international leg of the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf on Tuesday, beating Australian Steve Elkington, 2-up.

Els, of South Africa, earned $200,000 and the right to face Montgomerie, of Scotland, who won the European championship, in the four-man world finals at Scottsdale, Ariz., on Jan. 3-4, 1998.

"We're good friends and he's a great player," Els said of Montgomerie, whom he also defeated in a playoff at the 1994 U.S. Open. "It's going to be a tough match no matter how you look at it. He's a good match player."

The victory by Els, who defeated Nick Price of Zimbabwe, 3-and-2, in Tuesday's semifinals on the unyielding River Course at Blackwolf Run, completed the finals field. Japanese champion Hajime Meshiai will face Davis Love III, who won the U.S. regional, in the other world semifinal.

The overall winner collects $1 million, among the richest purses in golf. Elkington, who ousted defending champion and fellow Australian Greg Norman, 2-and-1, in a morning semifinal, had to settle for second place and $150,000.

Hogan laid to rest

FORT WORTH, Texas -- In a service as subdued, formal and dignified as the man himself, Ben Hogan was eulogized as one who battled overwhelming odds to become the finest shotmaker in the history of golf.

With golf legends Sam Snead, Byron Nelson and Tommy Bolt looking on, family, friends and admirers paid final respects to Hogan.

Honorary pallbearers included Snead, Bolt and Ken Venturi, Fort Worth writer-author Dan Jenkins, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Jim Murray and the chief executive officer of PGA of America, Jim Awtrey.

Among the professional golfers on hand for the service were Ben Crenshaw, Doug Sanders, Rives McBee and Doug Higgins.

The services were held only minutes from Colonial Country Club, nicknamed "Hogan's Alley" in honor of his five PGA victories there.

Simpson wins Couples event

KENMORE, Wash. -- The pairing of Arnold Palmer and Laura Davies drew the biggest crowd, but Scott Simpson won the $565,000 Fred Couples Invitational.

The 41-year-old San Diego native shot his second consecutive 4-under-par 67 for a two-day total of 134 to win the charity event on the 6,543-yard Inglewood Golf Club course by one stroke over Tom Lehman. Simpson won $130,000, while Lehman, who shared the first-round lead at 66 with Scott McCarron, won $65,000.

Much of the record crowd, estimated at 15,000, followed Palmer and Davies, the first woman to play in the event. Palmer shot a 75 for a two-day total of 147. His round included three birdies, five bogeys and one double-bogey. Davies, the LPGA tour star who acknowledged playing with Palmer made her nervous, shot an 82 to total 155.

Daly fourth in pro-am

ERIE, Pa. -- Willie Wood had 10 birdies and an eagle in an 11-under-par 61 to win the $300,000 Greater Erie Charity Golf Classic by six shots, while John Daly continued his comeback with another solid round.

Wood, 36, who has one victory on the PGA Tour, had a 126 total for the 36-hole tournament at the Kahkwa Club course, breaking the mark set by Brian Claar in 1995 by one stroke.

David McCampbell was second, one stroke in front of fellow mini-tour player Brian Gay. Four-time PGA Tour winner Fred Funk finished fourth at 134.

Daly, on a second comeback from alcoholism, and two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange were among four golfers tied at 8-under 136.

Four advance to match play

LOUDONVILLE -- Four Western New York golfers advanced to today's match-play portion of the New York State Junior/Boys championship at Shaker Ridge Country Club in Loudonville.

Mark Nihill and Tim Smith of East Aurora CC and Dan DePasquale of Gowanda CC bested the cutoff of 80 in the on-site qualifying round for Juniors (15-17) to move on to three of today's eight match-play spots.

Nihill, who finished third in June's PGA Junior series event in Vaas, N.C., by shooting 15-over par over three rounds, shot a second-best 75 and will face Geoff Fountain (Cazenovia CC). Fountain shot 80.

Smith, the defending champion who also advanced to the round of 16 in June's International Junior Masters at East Aurora CC, will face Hiawatha Landing's Jonathan Bump after shooting 77.

Smith and Nihill are juniors-to-be at St. Francis and Canisius, respectively. In February, they traveled to Mexico to compete in the Mexican national championship, where Nihill finished 21st and Smith 56th.

DePasquale qualified for the event by taking medalist honors in the July 7 qualifier at Williamsville's Westwood CC. On Tuesday, he shot 78.

Junior medalist honors were captured by Davidde Giordano's (Ridgemont CC) 73.

In the Boys (14-under) division, Moon Brook CC's Matt Lundgren shot an 83 to advance to meet Todd Czepiel of Woodgate Pines GC, who shot 79.

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