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Monday, August 16, 1999 Published at 08:24 GMT 09:24 UK

Woods wins youthful battle

Woods held on to a narrow advantage

Tiger Woods won a thrilling battle between the youngest two golfers at the US PGA at Medinah in Chicago.

The BBC's Tony Adamson: "Garcia and Tiger thrilled the galleries"
The 23-year-old held off the challenge of Spanish teenager Sergio Garcia, as the sport's most experienced men watched a lesson from the young pair.

Americans Jay Haas and Stewart Cink shared third spot two further back.

At one stage Woods had looked certain of winning the second major of his short career, five shots clear and seemingly cruising.

[ image: Garcia: Outrageous shots from the young Spaniard]
Garcia: Outrageous shots from the young Spaniard
But the American had to endure a nervous time against 19-year-old Garcia, and the relief as the winner sank his final putt was evident.

The Spaniard was trying to become the youngest major winner for 129 years, but has the massive compensation of clinching a Ryder Cup debut for next month's match in Boston.

Click here for collated third round scores.

He will be the youngest player in cup history after winning a place in only four months as a professional.

The BBC's Tony Adamson sees the final putt
Woods was five clear with seven to play, but Garcia signalled his intent with a 20-foot birdie putt at the short 13th.

Minutes later Woods had his first bogey of the day on the 12th, then double-bogeyed the 13th.

The gap was down to one as a result, but then Garcia faltered, driving into the trees on the 15th, which he bogeyed.

An impossible shot

When the teenager drove directly behind a tree on the 452-yard next his hopes appeared over.

[ image: Woods felt the pressure after starting so strongly]
Woods felt the pressure after starting so strongly
But in a moment of drama he went for what seemed an impossible shot.

In the style of mentor Seve Ballesteros he went for the green, taking his eyes off the ball as he played outrageously.

He then chased after the shot, leaping partly to see where the ball had gone and partly in delight when he saw how good the bizarre recovery had been.

Sergio Garcia: "I knew I was going to be a rival for Tiger"
Woods was feeling the pressure and from a perfect position off the 16th tee tried to hit an eight-iron 160 yards up the hill.

It came down in the guarding bunker, and the alarm bells were ringing for the older man in an unusual position - under pressure from the young upstart.

Woods' recovery ran on 18 feet, and by missing the putt his lead over Garcia was back to one.

Relieved winner

But the Spaniard had run out of holes and after missing a 14-foot birdie putt on the last, left a 10-under target for the American, 11-under going into the last two.

Woods missed the green at the short 17th but chipped to seven feet and made it.

[ image: Monty: Leading Briton finished with share of sixth place]
Monty: Leading Briton finished with share of sixth place
He overcame his nerves to play the 18th perfectly, his first two shots giving him two putts for the championship.

As the second went into the hole, the relief was obvious for a man who looks set for many more battles with Garcia in the coming years.

"Unfortunately I hit a couple of bad shots and I just tried to hold off Sergio," said Woods after hugging his mother, girlfriend and caddie.

"Sergio was playing wonderful golf, and you could see the fans rooting for him - and rightfully so."

'So much fun'

"It was amazing," added Garcia, who emulated Ballesteros' feat at the Open in 1976 by finishing runner-up in a major at 19.

"It was the best week of my life. I have never had so much fun playing golf. It was unbelievable."

[ image: Nick Price's challenge faded]
Nick Price's challenge faded
Earlier Nick Price had looked the man most likely to give Woods a challenge, but the double PGA champion faded with bogeys on the 12th and 13th and a double bogey at the 16th.

He finished fifth, four shots adrift of Woods, but one ahead of leading British challenger Colin Montgomerie.

The Scot was level with American Bob Estes, who narrowly misses an automatic place on the American Ryder Cup team as a result.

Canada's Mike Weir began the round level with Woods but a run of four bogeys in five holes from the second and a double bogey at the 11th sent him back to share 10th.

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