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Harrington, Westwood also advance

10/15/2004 - Ernie Els

VIRGINIA WATER, England -- Ernie Els scored close victories over Scott Drummond and Angel Cabrera on Friday to move into the semifinals of the World Match Play Championship and stay on course for a record sixth title.

Els defeated Drummond 2 and 1 in a first-round match that was
completed early Friday. He then defeated Cabrera 1-up in the
quarterfinals.

Padraig Harrington edged Thomas Levet 1-up in another
quarterfinal, and Lee Westwood defeated Retief Goosen 2 and 1. The
fourth quarterfinal was halted by darkness with Miguel Angel Jimenez leading Bernhard Langer 3-up after 28 holes of the 36-hole
match.

Saturday's semifinals at Wentworth just outside London have Els against Harrington and Jimenez or Langer facing Westwood.

Els needed just one hole Friday morning to finish off Drummond in a first-round match suspended by darkness Thursday after a 2½-hour rain delay. He trailed by one stroke after 18 against
Cabrera, but rallied to win 1-up with a birdie on the final hole.

Els, ranked No. 2 in the world, drove poorly in the first 18
against Cabrera and went out of bounds twice at the long 17th. But
he improved in the second 18.

"This afternoon I started swinging like I wanted to. I've been
working on something in my takeaway, snatching at it a little bit.
Only now is it starting to click in with my body," Els said.

The day's big upset came when Langer ousted the world's
top-ranked player, Vijay Singh, on the first playoff hole of their
first-round match, also halted Thursday evening by darkness.

Langer said the victory over Singh reminded him of "that old Bible story when little David beat Goliath. He's No. 1 in the world and I'm somewhere in the mid-70s. He was the hot favorite."

In beating Ryder Cup teammate Levet, Harrington was injured when his right hand hit a tree on the follow-through from a shot in the
rough. He had it bandaged and was unable to swing freely for the
rest of his round.

"I thought I had loads of room. How I got my hand to the tree I
don't know," Harrington said.

All four Americans in the field, and Canada's Mike Weir, lost in
the first round.

The winner Sunday receives $1.8 million, billed as the biggest
prize in world golf.