posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 01:54 PM
Greg Owen's third-place finish in the Pebble Beach Pro-am in California earned him US$360,000 - just over £200,000 - but it was not enough to give
him a spot in next week's Accenture World Match Play Championship.
The Mansfield golfer's performance in only his third event since coming through the US Tour qualifying school has moved him up 77 places on the world
rankings. However, his position had fallen to 185th following back surgery in May last year. The Match Play, won for the last two years by Tiger
Woods, is restricted to the top 64, but world number three Ernie Els is skipping the tournament for the second season running and so 65th-placed
Shingo Katayama comes in as a replacement.
At 69th in the standings Colin Montgomerie needs four more pull-outs to be part of the action. As things stand Darren Clarke, who beat Woods in the
2000 final, will play his compatriot Graeme McDowell in the opening round at La Costa near San Diego next Wednesday. They finished sixth and eighth
respectively at Pebble Beach.
The only other all-European clash is shaping up to be Sergio Garcia against Alex Cejka. Els' no-show sets up the possibility of a semi-final between
Woods and Phil Mickelson, who won at Pebble Beach by four shots a week after capturing the FBR Open in Arizona by five. Woods skipped those two events
after winning the Buick Invitational. He returns at this week's Nissan Open in Los Angeles and it is Mickelson's turn to rest.