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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Monday, August 17, 1998

Eagles try out lineups in scrimmage

Staff Writer
PECOS, Aug. 17 -- Putting the pieces together in the right
order is Pecos Eagle coach Becky Granado's main goal, as the
Eagles' 1998 season opener approaches on Tuesday.

Granado got to look at her 15 varsity hopefuls in a variety
of combinations, in scrimmage games on Friday and Saturday
in Pecos and Monahans.

The middle of Friday's scrimmage was better than the start
and finish for Pecos. They did well in their first matches
against Grandfalls and Fort Davis, after getting blown out
in the opener by Wink. Then in the second round, the Eagles
played the Wildcats even, while looking shakier in their
rematches with the Cowgirls and Maidens.

"We did some good things blocking, and we really haven't
work on blocking that much," Granado said. "But Sherrie
(Mosby) and Philonicus (Fobbs) had a couple of nice blocks.

"But we have to be quicker on defense. We're too slow right
now," Granado added.

Against Wink, the Eagles' problems in their opener were
mainly due to the hitting of senior Jess Ann Fernandes,
while Pecos' problems against Grandfalls and Fort Davis were
more of their own doing, thanks to missed serves and
unforced errors.

"It seems like to me that we're holding back. We're trying
so hard not to make any mistakes we're making more," she
said. "Maybe once I come up with the 12 players I'm going to
keep they'll fell comfortable. Right now, they don't know
who'll be next to them out there and that causes some

"I can understand us having problems with our serves,
because we haven't even worked with that yet. But I think we
had about 18 missed serves and I told the ladies there's no
way we can score if we miss all those serves."

The Eagles will begin their season Tuesday afternoon with
matches against Alpine and Odessa High at the Pecos High
School gym, then compete in the Ector County ISD Tournament
at Odessa High this weekend. Pecos will face Midland High,
Lamesa and El Paso Coronado in their pool round matches

Singh works way to PGA title

AP Sports Writer
REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 17 -- First came the putting tip from
his wife. Then came a few strokes of good fortune in the

Finally, Vijay Singh got a lecture from his caddie.

Nothing, it seems, comes easy for Singh. It was no different
in the PGA Championship.

The major championship win he had long coveted was finally
Singh's on Sunday, though not without a struggle. But Singh
has always taken the difficult route anyway, in a career
that stretched from the sand greens of Nigeria to the
jungles of Malaysia, with many a driving range in between.

It all came together under the canopy of trees framing
Sahalee Country Club, where golf's hardest worker walked up
the 18th fairway to an ovation unlike he had ever gotten in
his golfing career -- and the Wanamaker trophy that goes to
the PGA champion.

``To win one of these things is like a dream,'' Singh said.

Putting cross-handed after a tip from his wife, Singh capped
a brilliant tournament on the greens with a 15-foot par save
on the 17th hole, then confidently parred the 18th to win by
two shots over Steve Stricker.

The years spent meticulously honing his swing for hours at a
time in remote corners of driving ranges around the world,
putting and chipping on motel room carpets and grinding,
grinding away, finally paid off.

But no amount of practice will win a major championship
without a few breaks. And Singh got his just when he needed

A ball that popped out of a huge maple tree onto the green
on the 11th hole kept him in the lead, and he somehow found
an opening in the trees on the 14th hole. Then he got a
lecture from caddie Dave Fenwick when things started going

The combination produced quite an oddity -- a PGA champion
from, of all places, Fiji.

``I hope I'm a hero now in Fiji,'' Singh said. ``I haven't
been back in a long time, but I hope everyone saw this.''

They didn't, because there was no television coverage of the
event in the country of 800,000. His wife and 8-year-old
son, Qass, however, were there in person to follow him
around to victory.

It was the 10th time in the last 11 years that the PGA
winner was winning a major for the first time. It came on a
day when morning rains softened Sahalee enough for a few
contenders to try making a run at Singh and Stricker, who
shared a three-stroke lead coming into the final round.

Mark O'Meara, vying for a third major this year and a slice
of history, tried to make it interesting with an early eagle
and birdie that got him within two strokes of the lead
before three straight bogeys did him in.

Nick Price got hot, but he was just too far back. Steve
Elkington made a late run but ran out of holes.

By the back nine, it was basically match play, Singh against
Stricker, with both shooting for their first major title. No
amount of hitting balls on the range could prepare Singh for
the pressures of the final holes of a major.

``I was pretty nervous,'' Singh admitted. ``I was calm, but
I was aware of what was going on. I was talking to my caddie
a lot, and I was playing good golf, which made it a little
bit easier.''

The talk between Singh and his caddie wasn't just of golf.
It was of horse racing and funny stories and anything else
Fenwick could think of talking about to keep Singh relaxed.

But by the time Singh hit his driver into the trees of the
14th hole -- which he followed with a miracle shot through
the trees and onto the green -- the talk had turned serious
once again.

``You can't do this,'' Fenwick told Singh. ``You can't win a
golf tournament hitting bad shots like this.''

He didn't, hooding a wedge and hooking it through the trees
to the green on his next shot. Singh was still a stroke
ahead, where he stayed until both he and Stricker hit their
tee shots into bunkers guarding the green on the par-3 17th

Singh blasted out to about 15 feet. Stricker hit his a bit
closer. Then Singh, using the cross-handed grip that his
wife had suggested he go back to at the Western Open, made
his putt and Stricker missed.

The lead was two shots and, barring disaster, the tournament
was his.

``That was the turning point right there,'' Stricker said.
``I was fighting my swing. I'm not going to lie.''

For Stricker, whose wife and former caddie, Nicki, was home
in Edgerton, Wis., watching on television because she is
expected to have a baby in two weeks, just to be in
contention on the final day was almost good enough

After winning twice in 1996 and thought to be one of the
rising young stars on the PGA Tour, the 31-year-old Stricker
changed clubs and it changed his game. He finished 130th
last year, had one top 10 finish and won only $167,000.

His paycheck Sunday, by comparison, was $324,000.

``I was proud of the way I fought,'' he said. ``I played
hard and I put some pressure on Vijay. It was down to match
play there at the end. We both made birdies on No. 15. But I
pulled a 5-iron in the bunker on 17 and that hurt.''

Singh was proud, too. Proud both of where he came from and
how far he has come.

``I was a club pro in Malaysia and I was out there in the
jungle and hitting balls and practicing in 100-degree heat
and trying to think about what I'm going to do next,'' Singh
recalled. ``That was the lowest point. I never thought about
coming to America, let alone winning a golf tournament over

Elkington, his friend on the tour, summed it up.

``He has had an enormously difficult road to pick up that
trophy,'' Elkington said. ``He will be a great champion.''

Cowboys seeking first preseason wins

Associated Press Writer
MEXICO CITY, Aug. 17 -- The New England Patriots and Dallas
Cowboys share something in common when they meet tonight in
an NFL exhibition game. They both are seeking their first
preseason victory following two losses.

The Patriots are also looking for a running game, while the
Cowboys are still searching for consistency.

Promoters expect more than 100,000 fans at Azteca Stadium,
where a 1994 exhibition game between the Cowboys and Houston
Oilers attracted an NFL-record crowd of 112,000.

``This is an impressive place,'' Cowboys coach Chan Gailey
said as the teams arrived for a light workout before a few
hundred fans.

``There's been a few years that if you added them all
together I wouldn't have played in front of that many

Both New England and Dallas are looking for their first
preseason victories after two disappointing tries.

``We want to win if we can and we want a chance to solidify
and give some consistency on both sides of the ball,'' said
Gailey, a first-year coach trying to install a new offense.

He said his starters were likely to play only about a
quarter, and star running back Emmitt Smith might sit out
because of a bruised thigh. Defensive tackle Leon Lett and
cornerback Deion Sanders also will be missing.

New England coach Pete Carroll said Sedrick Shaw will start
at tailback for the Patriots, who have failed to find a
replacement for Curtis Martin, the star running back who
signed with the New York Jets.

Shaw carried 16 times for 48 yards in a 14-13 loss to San
Francisco, but he also fumbled on the Patriots' first

His main competitor, rookie Robert Edwards, was injured in
the San Francisco game and is not ready to return. Nobody
stood out in the Patriot's second game, a 28-0 loss to

``We have not been clicking as well as we'd like to,''
Carroll said. ``We think we're ready to break out in the
next couple of weeks. Maybe it will be tomorrow night.''

Players criticized the Azteca field after the 1994 game, but
NFL turf consultant George Toma said, ``it's improved 100

The field was in pretty good shape Sunday despite more than
2 inches of rain since Thursday. Forecasts called for rain
Monday night.

``It it is wet and sloppy it will be a good situation
because you do need to work on that kind of a situation, but
it is hard to work on a precision-timing type o game when
it's raining,'' said Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe,
adjusting to a more timing-oriented passing scheme.

The biggest cheers of fan day went to Marco Martos, a Mexico
native who has a brief contract with the Cowboys after
playing with the Barcelona Dragons of NFL Europe.

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