Jeff Maggert, ranked No25 in the world, and Andrew Magee, positioned 26 places further down the list, will contest the first final of the Andersen Consulting Match Play Championship at La Costa Resort and Spa.
Maggert eliminated Steve Pate by one hole while Magee beat John Huston 3 and 1 in the other semi-final. The two Americans will now battle it out over 36 holes to decide the winner of the inaugural World Golf Championship event.
Magee, 36, and Maggert, 35 last week, are not only closely matched in ages. They finished 36th and 33rd respectively on the US Tour money list in 1998 and both failed to win during that season.
It was a major turnaround in fortunes for Magee, the man from Paradise Valley, Arizona. He had missed two cuts from three starts in 1999 and earned just $21,300 from a tied 26th placing in the Phoenix Open.
Suddenly he finds himself chasing a jackpot of $1 million (859,158 euro) if he can overcome American Ryder Cup man Maggert. In the semi-final, Magee was hit by Huston’s whirlwind start.
The 37-year-old, a two-time winner in America last season, reeled off three birdies to win the first three holes. However, slowly but surely, Magee became to find his ‘A’ game and won the fourth in par then the par five ninth and tenth in birdies to square the match.
The par fives continued to be good to Magee. He moved ahead with a birdie four at the 12th, won the 16th in par then closed the door on his opponent by picking up yet another birdie at the par five 17th.
Maggert, too, had difficulty getting into his stride. Pate birdied the first and ninth to turn two up, but Texan Maggert clawed his way back into the semi-final. The turning point came with a glorious eagle at the 12th followed by birdies at the 15th and 17th.
A par four at the last enabled Maggert to cover the inward stretch in four under par, while Pate was unable to hole the long birdie putt he needed to take the match into extra time.