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Tom Kite converted mistakes by Ireland's Christy O'Connor into a playoff victory that sent the United States into the championship match in the Dunhill Cup golf tournament at St. Andrews, Scotland.

"It's a shame it had to end on a catastrophe like that," Kite said Saturday after O'Connor put his ball into a stream on the first extra hole of the decisive match. "But I'll take a win any way we can get it."Winning ugly is a whole lot better than losing pretty any time," he said.

The Americans' 2-1 triumph over defending champion Ireland advanced the three-man American team into Sunday's 36-hole final against Japan, a 2-1 upset winner over England in cold, blustery winds that scoured the Old Course at St. Andrews.

"Japan has played better than anybody else in this tournament," Kite said. "They've had lower scores, and more of them, than anybody else" in the field of 16 national teams that started on Thursday.

"We've all played against them. We know them. They're longer than we are. We'll have to play very, very well against them," Kite said.

Mark Calcavecchia, the first man out for the Americans, went four strokes up shoftly after the turn, then hit a bad patch in the cold winds. He led by only one before a 25-foot putt found the cup on the final hole for a 69-71 decision over Philip Walton.

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At Tallahassee, Fla., Bill Britton, looking for his first win in nine seasons on the PGA Tour, shot a 9-under-par 63 Saturday to take a four-stroke lead after three rounds of the Centel Classic.

Britton was at 16-under 200 after 54 holes, within range of Jeff Sluman's 1985 tournament record of 269, after shooting nine birdies in a bogey-free round over the 7,098-yard Killearn Country Club course.

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At Melbourne, Fla., Bob Charles survived stiff winds Saturday and shot a 2-under-par 70 and takes a one-stroke lead into the final round at the $300,000 Space Coast Senior PGA Tour Classic.

The left-handed New Zealander had four birdies and two bogeys at the Suntree Country Club to keep his one-shot margin over Butch Baird and a two-shot cushion over Jim Dent. Baird and Dent shot 70.

"Apart from the two bad tee shots, I played pretty good," Charles said. "My iron shots were good, my putting was poor."

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And at San Jose, Calif., Beth Daniel fired a 5-under-par 67 to take a three-stroke lead over Pat Bradley after two rounds of the LPGA San Jose Classic.

Daniel, who has won three tournaments in the last two months, enters Sunday's final round at 12-under-par 132, five shots better than the previous course record of 137, set by Sandra Haynie in 1982.