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Els stays on course for a title

Defending champion Ernie Els beat Padraig Harrington 5 and 4 Saturday to stay on course for a record sixth World Match Play title in Virginia Water, England.

Els, who shares the record of five victories with Gary Player and Seve Ballestros, will face Lee Westwood, a 1-up winner over Miguel Angel Jimenez in the other semifinal.

The winner Sunday will earn $1.8 million, billed as the biggest prize in golf.

Els, who turns 35 Sunday, will be appearing in the final for a record seventh time. His only loss in the final came against Vijay Singh in 1997.

Westwood has beaten Els in the only two matches the two have played, in the second round in 1998 and the semifinals in 2000.

SAMSUNG WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: At Palm Desert, Calif., Grace Park shot a 1-under 71 to hold onto the third-round lead in the Samsung World Championship, while Annika Sorenstam and Cristie Kerr moved within three shots.

Park was at 16-under 200 through three rounds in the elite 20-player tournament.

Sorenstam, whose 53 career LPGA Tour victories include three titles in the event, matched Kerr with a 69 on Bighorn Golf Club course.

Amateur Michelle Wie, the teenage sensation from Hawaii, turned in a 67 for the best round of the day — and seven strokes better than her first day. Wie, who turned 15 on Monday, put an exclamation point on her round by sinking a 40-foot putt for a birdie 3 on No. 18. The 5-under round moved Wie, in the event on a sponsor's exemption, from 19th to 15th going into the final 18 holes.

CHRYSLER CLASSIC OF GREENSBORO: At Greensboro, N.C., Tom Lehman bounced back from an early bogey for a 3-under 69 to join Brent Geiberger (71) at the top of the leaderboard in the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro at 12 under.

Four players — including 2001 PGA champ David Toms — were one shot back, with another 10 players within four strokes of the lead.

Last week in Las Vegas, Lehman led going into the final day before eventually tying for second, one shot back. The 45-year-old Minnesotan has five career victories but none since the 2000 Phoenix Open.

SBC CHAMPIONSHIP: At San Antonio, Zimbabwe's Mark McNulty had an eagle and five birdies in a seven-hole stretch to take a big second-round lead in the SBC Championship.

McNulty, who won the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am in February in his Champions Tour debut, finished with an 8-under 63 for a 12-under 130 total and a four-stroke advantage. Gary McCord, 2002 winner Dana Quigley and Morris Hatalsky were tied for second after 66s on the Oak Hills Country Club course.