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April 12, 2004 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-04-12

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6B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - April 12, 2004

Monroe lifts
Tigers past
DETROIT (AP) - Craig Monroe thought
that his mental mistake had cost the Detroit
Tigers a victory.
Fortunately for him, he got a chance to
redeem himself.
Monroe hit a game-winning single in the
10th to give the Tigers a 6-5 victory over the
Minnesota Twins yesterday.
In the eighth, Monroe made a throwing
error from left field that helped the Twins tie
the game and send it into extra innings.
"I felt terrible because I knew it was not
smart baseball," said Monroe, who threw a
ball into the dugout while trying to double a
runner off first. "This year, Tigers baseball is
about playing like professionals."
Rondell White walked with one out in the
10th, and pinch-runner Andres Torres stole
second. Monroe followed with a line-drive sin-
gle to left off Joe Roa (1-1) to give the Tigers
their fifth win in six games.
Detroit started last season 0-9 en route to an
AL-record 119 losses. It took the Tigers 30
games to get their fifth victory in 2003.
"Obviously, no one expected us to start 5-
1, but here we are," Tigers manager Alan
Trammell said. "We just hope this good
feeling continues for a while. We aren't call-
ing ourselves World Series contenders yet
- we know we have a long way to go - but
we are enjoying this."
Roa blamed himself for starting the winning
rally by walking White.
"That's one of my strengths, throwing
strikes, then to throw four balls," he said.
"That's not the way you want to go out there
like that, walk a guy in that situation."

Roddick sparks U.S. team

on to victory.
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Andy Rod-
dick's final serve set a record, and a celebratory
final forehand sent his racket into the stands.
Finishing with a flourish, Roddick beat Jonas
Bjorkman in straight sets yesterday to clinch a
U.S. victory over Sweden in the Davis Cup quar-
Roddick came from behind to take a gruel-
ing first set, then wore down a weary Bjork-
man to win 7-6 (3), 6-4, 6-0, giving the
Americans an insurmountable 3-1 lead in the
best-of-five match.
Mardy Fish made the final score 4-1 by beating
Thomas Johansson 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. The Americans
will host a semifinal from Sept. 24 to 26 against
Belarus, which swept Argentina 5-0 in Minsk.
"It's a chance to take this dream one step fur-
ther," Roddick said. The United States is aiming
for its first title since 1995.
Roddick saved his biggest shot for match
point, when he hit a 152-mph serve, breaking
the record of 150 he set in a Davis Cup match
in February.
"I knew I had it in my arm," he said. "I
thought I'd take a crack at it that last game."
Bjorkman somehow managed to get his return
in play.
"It wasn't too hard - you just have to put the
racket there," the Swede said with a smile.
When the rally ended with a Bjorkman back-
hand into the net, the U.S. celebration began.
Roddick flung his racket to the fans, climbed
into the stands in search of his teammates and
discovered they were on the court. He joined
them there and led the victory lap, whooping
and wagging his tongue along the way.
It was the second Sunday celebration in a row
for Roddick, who won his first Key Biscayne
title a week ago. And it was an impressive U.S.
victory over a Swedish team that upset defend-
ing champion Australia in the first round.

over Sweden
The Americans took a 2-1 lead thanks to a
doubles victory Saturday by Bob and Mike
Bryan, leaving the match on the racket of
their best player. The sunbaked hard court
was home turf for Roddick, who grew up in
nearby Boca Raton, and he started strong,
with an ace followed by three consecutive
service winners.
Drums, horns and chants provided the sound-
track, and Roddick repeatedly played to the
lively partisan crowd. He broke in the next
game for a 2-0 lead, then waved an index finger
to the fans.
"The crowd was just amazing," Roddick said.
"Sometimes after a point you could yell whatev-
er you wanted, and no one would hear you
because the crowd would drown it out."
Bjorkman rallied and was up a break at 4-3
before Roddick rallied. In the tiebreaker he
chased down four volleys by Bjorkman during
one exchange, finally hitting a forehand winner
for a 2-1 lead that put him ahead to stay.
After a one-hour opening set, the rest seemed
easy for Roddick, who lost only 10 points in the
final set.
"That last set was one of the best sets I've ever
played, for sure," Roddick said. "My instincts
took over. It was amazing. It was like whatever
shot I tried was working."
Not everything went Roddick's way. He ran
into a linesman behind the baseline chasing a
shot, lost the point and gave the official an ear-
ful. In the tiebreaker he hit a 148-mph serve, and
Bjorkman still managed to win the point.
But in humid, 85-degree weather, Roddick
was too strong for the 32-year-old Bjorkman,
who played 10 sets in three days. Roddick domi-
nated with his serve, as usual, but also commit-
ted only 11 unforced errors and moved well.
"Andy played some great tennis," Bjorkman
said. "He's got a lot of confidence right now."

Rondell White greets teammate Carlos Pena at home plate. The Tigers improved to 5-1 yesterday.
Steve Colyer (1-0) got his first major of the game."
league win with an inning of scoreless Tigers starter Mike Maroth gave up three
relief. Minnesota used seven pitchers while runs in 6 1-3 innings.
Detroit used six. "I didn't get the win, but we did, and that's
Minnesota starter Johan Santana allowed all that matters," said Maroth, who lost 21
three runs on five hits in five innings, but games last year to become the first pitcher to
needed 94 pitches. reach 20 losses since 1980. "This year, we are
"I felt pretty good - I was just trying to expecting to win games like this - we think
throw the ball over the plate, trying to put the we have a chance every day. Last year, after
ball in play," he said. "They hit the ball. They we lost so many games early, we went out
fouled many pitches and made me throw a lot there with the attitude of waiting for some-
of pitches. That's why it forced me to come out thing bad to happen, but that's gone now."



' .


Mickelson takes his
first major with birdie

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - Phil Mick-
elson in a green jacket. Even he had a
hard time believing it.
The final leg in his odyssey to win a
major championship came down to an
18-foot putt yesterday, the kind Mick-
elson had grown weary of watching
others make as he stood to the side.
This time, the last chance belonged
to him, a birdie putt that kept him in
suspense to the very end. It rolled
toward the cup, swirled around the left
edge and dropped in.
Mickelson leapt as high as he could
and threw both arms in the air, kissed
the ball that he plucked from the cup
and tossed it into a delirious crowd that
felt the same way.
"It almost feels like make-believe,'
Mickelson said. "My first thought was,
'I did it! I finally did it!' I knew I
could, but I finally did it."
Those who doubted only had to look
at his poise along a dramatic back nine
at Augusta National as Ernie Els tried
to pull away with an eagle, a birdie and
a collection of clutch pars.
Mickelson birdied five of the last
seven holes and shot 31 on the back -
the best finish by a Masters champion
since Jack Nicklaus had a 30 in 1986.
He closed with a 69.
The best proof of all was a 43-long
green jacket.
"I can't believe this is happening,"

Mickelson said after Mike Weir
slipped the jacket over his shoulders.
Sure beats the other thing he's been
carrying on his back for 12 years.
"This is the fulfillment of dreams,"
he said. "I'm just proud to be a cham-
pion here. It was an exceptional, unbe-
lievable back nine, and it's something
I'll remember forever and ever."
Even as he sat in fabled Butler
Cabin, he was reliving the 15-foot
birdie putt on the par-3 16th that
gave him a share of the lead, and an
18-footer on the final hole that
made Mickelson only the fourth
player in Masters history to win
with a birdie on the final stroke of
the tournament.
Until yesterday, he was known as the
best player to have never won a major.
Now, he's simply one of the best in
the game.
"I didn't think there was any way
he would miss it," said Chris DiMar-
co, who played in the final group and
had a par putt from exactly the same
line that allowed Mickelson to get a
good read.
Els felt helpless after closing with a
67. He was rapping putts on the prac-
tice green, hopeful of a playoff and a
chance for the third leg of the Grand
Slam, but was jolted into despair at the
sound of the cheer.
"I played as good as I could,"
Els said. "What more can you do,

Final 2004 Scoreboard
T4 eri Grcia 72-72g-.7--669 25
T6. Via Shinghu 75-73-69-69h 286ga 3
2. EDaevEs LoeI 7-7-7-70 286
T6. Kir 3.ipK.J. 71-7469-7-2-9 28
T4. Sergio Garcia 72-72-75-66 28
T6. Chris Dimarco 69-73-68-76 286
T13. Charles Howell III 71-71-76-70 288


Phil Mickelson accepts his coveted green jacket from fellow left-hander Mike Weir,
who won last year's Masters.

you know?"
Mickelson knows that feeling all
too well. Of the half-dozen close
calls he has had in the majors, noth-
ing was more jarring than Payne
Stewart holing a 15-foot par putt on
the final hole at Pinehurst to win the
'99 U.S. Open, or David Toms mak-
ing par from 12 feet at the '01 PGA

Championship to beat Mickelson by
one shot.
Before walking into the scoring hut
to sign his card, Mickelson grabbed
daughter Amanda and said, "Daddy
won. Can you believe it?"
Mickelson finished at 9-under 279
and earned $1.17 million for his 23rd
career victory.

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Phil Mikkelson finally gat hsaoryserdaybut it's not like it was his first
chnc.Hsfin ished in the tp 10 ini seve,,&Wesincludig athird-place
finish in each o~f the last three years. Herear smeof his m~ore famous
,199 US. Open
mickelson held a .to . cd oc yn, .Stewvart at Pinehurst with, three holes'
r'emainin~g, heat his ,ally }b gey ofthr ru~lond.. hedoo~r for Srt's damatic 5
foot fiar putt on th Sh hole that AwOnI) thehanisrhp .
It w3 s machp e rv wnted tose. Mick~kon entered 'the final day jutone stroke
~.behi~i ;x ~eWcond , and 1Davi Luvdwit va ot far behind. But Phil shot a 70 inth fna
pxi ts} 1, -,w) otd< 5e ~ ohisOw' ger an
2001 PGA Cham~pionship.
I)o-wn b onstrutke,1 Mkkelson lvfii ir ie pratt .orton 18. David .Toms eecedtio lyu
,on the cp44 r l an G 4uc t ...... .Tamns went up and down for the tile

Els falls just short of fulfilling his dream

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - Munch-
ing on an apple, working on his
putting for a playoff that would
never come, Ernie Els watched
helplessly as the Masters moment
he's dreamed of disappeared.
While Phil Mickelson celebrated
victory with his family, Els gave his
putter a dejected flip and walked
away, an aching void in his heart
that only a win at Augusta National
will fill.
"It's very tough for me to explain
how I feel right now," a somber Els
said last night, after missed birdie
putts on the 17th and 18th holes left

him one stroke behind Mickelson.
"I just said to my wife and my
dad, 'I gave it my absolute best,
especially today.' I'm very disap-
pointed now, but I'll get over this. I
feel like I'll win a major this year.
"I would have loved to have won
this one."
The 34-year-old is one of the best
players of his generation, already a
three-time major winner.
But the Masters has always held a
special place for him. He used to
stay up deep into the night half a
world away to watch it with his
father, and he's dreamed of winning

it since he was eight, when fellow
South African Gary Player put on
the green jacket.
He had felt all week that this was
finally his year, and it seemed as if
he might be right after making two
eagles in a closing 5-under-par 67,
his best round of the week.
But just like in 2000, when he
finished second to Vijay Singh
after squandering birdie chances on
his final three holes, it wasn't
meant to be.
The pain would be the same,
regardless. But adding to the agony
was the 20 minutes he had to wait
between his finish and Mickelson's
approach to the 18th green. Els
couldn't bear to watch, knowing
there was absolutely nothing he
could do.
"You've done what you've done. I
played as good as I could. You're
just ..." He paused, trying to find
the right words. "You're there in
another guy's hands."
And after falling spectacularly
short so many times, Mickelson
finally broke through. He drained
an 18-footer for birdie to win his
frst mnir sttina ff a raucous

down to settle five feet from the
He had to scramble to save par
when his second shot on No. 9 went
six rows into the gallery behind the
green, but he made it look easy
with a chip shot a few feet below
the pin.
He moved to 7-under - two
strokes ahead of Mickelson - with
another eagle on the par-5 13th,
knocking the ball to 12 feet from
206 yards out. He followed with a
gutsy save on 14 after driving into
the trees.
Then came what might have been
the defining two holes in the tour-
nament, had he won.
On a slope behind the 15th green,
Els chipped within one foot, tap-
ping in for a birdie that put him at
At 16, he left himself 45 feet on a
huge-breaking, right-to-left down-
hiller. He ran the first putt 10 feet
past but made the comebacker to
save par.
"I was trying to push," he said. "I
was hitting the ball very solid. I
was feeling so good out there, I felt
I could have birdied everv hole the

:.:. :A

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