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US MASTERS GOLF AUGUSTA: WEATHER BEATEN; Duval, Lyle and Lawrie miss the cut.

Byline: NEIL McLEMAN in Augusta

OPEN champion David Duval crashed out of the Masters yesterday when three late bogeys saw him miss the cut by a single shot.

The American opened with a 74 and completed the first 12 holes of his second round in level par before the heavens opened and play was abandoned on Friday evening.

But Duval came out cold when play restarted on the rain-soaked course yesterday and immediately dropped shots on 13 and 14.

He birdied the 15th to move just inside the cut line but then found a bunker at 17 to bogey again.

Duval had come into the tournament in poor form but had always raised his game for the Masters.

His 31-under-par combined total for the past four Masters tournaments was the best of any competitor - and nine shots better than Tiger Woods over the same stretch.Scottish stars Paul Lawrie and Sandy Lyle both missed the cut for the third straight year.

Lawrie, the 1999 Open hero, followed his opening 75 with a scrambling 74 but still missed out by two shots.

He said: "I played shockingly. I was only two-over so my short game was reasonable.

"But I hit the ball all over the place - left, right, wherever.

"I hit only 10 greens in regulation so my short game was actually quite good to enable me to shoot two-over. But I'm still gutted."

Lyle, the 1988 champion here, posted his worst score in 64 rounds at the Masters with a horrendous 81.

He said: "It was a very tough day at the office and I have nothing really to say except I wasn't striking the ball well."

Meanwhile, Sergio Garcia - who has struck it rich by dating tennis superstar Martina Hingis - now has his sights set on leading golf's money lists on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Spanish superkid knows if he wins the Masters he'll rocket to the top of the standings.

Garcia - 14th on the US earning table and 10th on the European Tour's - said: "If I finish first here this week, I'll be leading both money lists so I think I can win them both.

"I feel I am playing well enough to do it. I know it is going to be tough but I am trying my best. If you set your goals as high as possible, you're going to achieve more.

"If I win one of the money lists I will be happy. But two is the goal."

Garcia was cagey about his romance with Swiss babe Hingis and would only admit: "The relationship is going well. I don't want to say any more."

But the red-blooded 22-year-old has also been linked with Tiger Woods' new girlfriend Elin Nordegren because she works as a nanny for Jesper Parnevik.

Parnevik is a close pal of Garcia and joked: "I can't keep up with Sergio's pace - he is always playing with my children or their nannies!"

Garcia has also enjoyed success on the football field this week. He was given a boost before the US Masters when his team Real Madrid reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.

He now plans to get home to watch the grudge game against deadly rivals Barcelona to decide who plays in the Hampden final on May 15.

Sergio said: "I'm happy for Real and the result gave me a lift on the course. I have a lot of friends at the club and I called Michel Salgado and the keeper Cesar after the game."

Garcia will fit the Champions League semi into a busy schedule over the next few months.

He admits he'll compete in more tournaments to achieve his money list ambition - but not at the expense of everything else.

El Nino said: "I'm trying to win both but I've still got the rest and live a life too. So it's not like I'm going to play every week because I don't feel that is the best way to win. I won't be able to play my best golf.

"I have a rough schedule but will try my best. I will probably play about 18 or 19 tournaments in America and about 11 in Europe."

Garcia's chances of landing a Major have been improved by two big factors: he has more big-match experience, and has cut down on the twitching as he lines up shots.

He said: "I don't grip and re-grip the club as many times as I used to. I think I take a lot less time now than most players over the ball.

"I knew it was affecting my game and I didn't feel comfortable over the ball.

"My set-up was wrong but now I feel more confident."

And Garcia reckons Europeans are now better placed to win on US soil as proved by a Masters leaderboard packed by non-Americans.

He said: "It just shows that everyone is getting better. There are a lot more international players plying their trade in the States.

"The European Tour is more like a worldwide championship. Other than a couple of Majors, you play all over the world. You have to handle different courses and it makes you more mature."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 14, 2002
Previous Article:GOLF : I'LL CHANCE MY ARM; Monty will risk it for Major title.

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