Mahan still on course
Last updated: 24th February 2013
Hunter Mahan's ambitions to retain his WGC-Accenture Match Play title could still be realised on Sunday.
Mahan, along with former champion Ian Poulter, the ever-consistent Matt Kutcher and rising star Jason Day will contest the Match Play semi-finals.
The glaring absences from that final four, of course, are world number one Rory McIlroy and three-time Match Play champion Tiger Woods.
Mahan beat Webb Simpson, 1UP, in his quarter-final clash on Saturday. However, as the score might suggest, it wasn't a straightforward victory for the defending champion.
"Webb (Simpson) had the honours today, and I realised how much I didn't like him hitting first just off the tee box," said Mahan.
For the first time this week, Mahan was pushed past the 15th hole by his opponent. HE attributes that to a lack of momentum.
"I just didn't like it. I liked going first and hitting it and then walking. I felt like I had a rhythm there," added Mahan.
While Mahan might seem like the favourite to lift this year's title, there is still the small matter of Ian Poulter, often referred to as the Match Play King, who beat Steve Stricker 3 and 2 in his quarter-final contest.
"I really enjoy the fun of match play," said Poulter.
"As good as my record is in the Ryder Cup, it doesn't translate into playing just for yourself. But my record in match play is very, very good, and I'm just very comfortable going toe to toe with somebody," added the Englishman.
Kucher beat Robert Garrigus, also 3 and 2, on Saturday afternoon. His record in the Match Play format is now extended to 13-3.
"For me I think my game is just a steady game," said Kuchar, who advanced to the semi-finals in 2011 and final four last year.
"I'm going to try to never give a guy a hole, and I think that's a big key in match play, just not giving holes away," added the lanky American golfer.
Jason Day, who has had a difficult path to the semi-final of this competition, is the last player to have qualified for the final four. Day, in the surprise result of the day, beat Graeme McDowell, 1UP in another tight fixture.
"It was very stressful out there today," said Day, who played his last nine holes in two under par.
"I feel like my mind is going every which way right now. Just to play the way I did on the back nine was very, very special," added a satisfied Day.
Some choice images from the final round of the Masters at Augusta, as Bubba Watson pulled of a superb repeat victory. Go to Gallery
The movers and shakers at the third round of the US Masters at Augusta National. Go to Gallery
- Tiger has "long-term" gameplan
- Dyson and Quiros lead the way
- Fung continues form
- Stenson unimpressed by course
- McIlroy on golf and gym
- Els hoping for return to form
- Dubuisson impressed by talent in Asia
- Poulter: Ryder Cup stars hitting form
- Stenson eyes Tiger's number one spot
- R&A chief Dawson to retire
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