G-Mac looking to keep run rolling
Graeme McDowell hopes to show Ryder Cup team-mate Ross Fisher today why he is now the world number four.
Graeme McDowell hopes to show Ryder Cup team-mate Ross Fisher why he is now the world number four in Thursday’s second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at the Blue Monster.
This while Fisher, a semi-finalist in the event two years ago, will be looking to repeat his practice round victory over McDowell earlier in the week.
“Ross is a great match player and a great driver of the ball, which really helps a lot around this golf course,” said US Open champion McDowell after his comfortable 4&3 win over American Heath Slocum.
“But if I play the way I played today I’ll have a great chance.
“That’s the first win I’ve had on this course, but it’s the first time I’ve had a match where I played a guy lower than me in the world rankings.”
Fisher is still the holder of the sport’s other world match play tournament held for many years at Wentworth – it was not staged last year – and commented after he beat Australian Robert Allenby: “It’s always difficult to play a friend and stablemate, but it’s going to be fun.”
It is not the only duel between two members of Colin Montgomerie’s team at Celtic Manor last October.
Luke Donald, who did not need his top form to thrash American Charley Hoffman 6&5, faces Italian Edoardo Molinari, who came from two down to put out Scot Martin Laird.
“Luke is one of the best match players out there,” said Molinari, no slouch himself as he showed when he became the first Italian to win the US Amateur title in 2005.
“It was great to have him on our side at the Ryder Cup, but now I will try to beat him.”
Donald returned from a long winter break only last week and commented: “I decided to try something different and spend a little bit more time at home with my new daughter.
“I think childhood changes everything – you certainly have more responsibility and a little bit different perception on life – but it certainly hasn’t changed my work ethic.
“I’m still out there practising hard and working hard, but if you have a bad day like I did on Friday last week you come home to a smiling baby and it kind of makes it a little easier to swallow.”
Rory McIlroy’s 4&2 win over Jonathan Byrd set up a match against another American in Ben Crane, while Paul Casey, runner-up the last two years, faces a second Australian opponent.
After squeezing through against left-hander Richard Green with a par on the first extra hole Casey takes on Jason Day and knows he has to play better.
“I just never got it going,” he said. “I didn’t birdie any par five and made a real botch of the 17th. It really was pretty poor.”
Top seed Lee Westwood has a chance for revenge over American Nick Watney, the player who knocked him out last year, after overcoming Henrik Stenson.
The Swede had come in for injured Japanese player Toru Taniguchi, but Westwood, now trying to make it to the last 16 for the first time in 11 attempts, stated after his 3&2 victory: “He’s a former winner and a long hitter, so it was always going to be a tough match.”
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