Tiger and SA trio tumble out

2012-02-24 07:11

Arizona - Tiger Woods tumbled out of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on Thursday after fellow Americans Hunter Mahan and Dustin Johnson had eased into the third round with commanding victories.

Mahan became the first player to advance, crushing South Korean Yang Yong-eun 5&3, and Johnson followed with a 7&5 demolition of Italy's Francesco Molinari at Dove Mountain's Ritz-Carlton Golf Club.

Three-time champion Woods, however, went out in the second round for a third time at the elite World Golf Championships event, struggling on the greens as he lost one-down to compatriot Nick Watney.

"I'm very happy to move on," Watney told reporters after Woods had missed a six-foot birdie putt at the par-four 18th to keep the match alive. "I feel a bit fortunate, as well.

"We don't see him miss putts like that very often, and there were a few of them today. I don't think that this will be a day that either of us will look back on as far as putting goes."

Woods, who had been bidding for a first PGA Tour victory in over two years, took some comfort from the quality of his shot-making over the closing holes.

"I didn't miss a single shot coming in, which is good," the 14-times major champion said. "That was fun to hit the ball that well. Unfortunately I just didn't make a putt when I needed it."

British world No 3 Lee Westwood reached the third round for the first time in 12 appearances at the event, beating Swede Robert Karlsson 3&2, and fourth-ranked German Martin Kaymer edged past American David Toms two up.

Triple major winner Ernie Els, who had upset world No 1 and defending champion Luke Donald in the opening round, was ousted 5&4 by Swede Peter Hanson.

In blazing desert sunshine, Mahan birdied six of the first eight holes to go four up on Yang and recovered from bogeys at the ninth and 10th to seal the win on the 15th green.

"I was playing as well as I could, hitting fairways and greens, giving myself good looks," said Mahan, who will face US Ryder Cup teammate Steve Stricker in Friday's third round.

"If you hit it good around here where these pins are and you get on the right level, you are going to have some putts, you are going to be able to make some putts. Today I was able to do that."

Stricker, champion in 2001 when the event was held in Australia, won a tight encounter with South African Louis Oosthuizen one up after sinking a 20-foot birdie putt at the 18th.

Johnson, who needed 20 holes to scrape past compatriot Jim Furyk in the opening round, never let up after seizing control against Molinari with four birdies in the first eight holes.

The match ended at the par-five 13th where the Italian parred and the big-hitting Johnson was just 10 feet from the hole in two shots.

"That momentum (from Wednesday) kind of carried over to today," Johnson said. "I got off to a good start and just played really solidly today."

John Senden, who putted well on Dove Mountain's tricky greens, upset fellow Australian Jason Day, the world No 7, 6&5.

"I had the pressure on him early," said Senden, who birdied two of the first four holes to go two up. "Then from there I wanted to keep focused and keep the quality of shots going on.

"And then I did that. And he sort of made the mistakes to force the match to go further and further my way."

In other matches, Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa lost to South Korea's Bae Sang-moon one-down and second-ranked Northern Irishman Rory Mcllroy advanced with a 3&2 win over Dane Anders Hansen.

Results from Thursday's second-round matches at the $8.5 million World Golf Championships Accenture Match Play Championship:

Jones Division

Peter Hanson (SWE x9) bt Ernie Els (RSA x16) 5 and 4

Brandt Snedeker (USA x5) bt Kyle Stanley (USA x13) 2 and 1

Mark Wilson (USA x10) bt Robert Rock (ENG x15) 3 and 2

Dustin Johnson (USA x3) bt Francesco Molinari (ITA x11) 7 and 5

Hogan Division

Martin Kaymer (GER x1) bt David Toms (USA x8) 2 up

Matt Kuchar (USA x4) bt Bubba Watson (USA x5) 3 and 2

Steve Stricker (USA x2) bt Louis Oosthuizen (RSA x7) 1 up

Hunter Mahan (USA x6) bt Y.E. Yang (KOR x14) 5 and 3

Player Division

Rory McIlroy (NIR x1) bt Anders Hansen (DEN x9) 3 and 2

Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP x13) bt Keegan Bradley (USA x5) 2 and 1

John Senden (AUS x10) bt Jason Day (AUS x2) 6 and 5

Bae Sang-Moon (KOR x11) bt Charl Schwartzel (RSA x3) 1 up

Snead Division

Lee Westwood (ENG x1) bt Robert Karlsson (SWE x8) 3 and 2

Nick Watney (USA x4) bt Tiger Woods (USA x5) 1 up

Martin Laird (SCO x10) bt Matteo Manassero (ITA x15) 2 and 1

Paul Lawrie (SCO x11) bt Ryo Ishikawa (JPN x14) 1 up


  • Bob - 2012-02-24 10:27

    Darn it Ernie, thats quite a whooping, thought you might have gone all the way in this matchplay, hopefully my countryman Rory can go all the way now.

  • Andre - 2012-02-24 10:52

    .... I wonder if TIGER will be taking time off to reflect... just wondering..

  • Gerrit - 2012-02-24 15:46

    Very sad for Ernie, it will be strange not to see him at the Masters. He basically needs to win one of the remaining 6 PGA Tour events before then to get in. Not sure if he will be playing in any of them or whether he even has it in him anymore.

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