Westy goes out on day of shocks
Lee Westwood was the biggest casualty on a second day of shocks at the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship.
Lee Westwood was the biggest casualty on a second day of shocks at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at the Ritz Plaza Golf Club’s Blue Monster at Dove Mountain in Arizona.
Never beyond the second round in 11 visits to the event now, the world number one lost for the second year running to American Nick Watney.
It was no consolation, but at least Westwood, beaten on the final green, avoided the real drubbing handed out to both Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson.
McIlroy, who had a chance this week to go to world number three and ahead of Tiger Woods for the first time in his life, was crushed by American Ben Crane 8&7, while Mickelson went out 6&5 to young Ryder Cup teammate Rickie Fowler.
It was the US left-hander’s worst-ever loss in the tournament while McIlroy’s defeat was the second biggest suffered by anybody.
Woods, among those beaten in the first round, thrashed Stephen Ames 9&8 in 2006.
“Well that wasn’t the plan!” said McIlroy on his Twitter site.
“Ben played great today and I didn’t do much to put him under pressure!”
Paul Casey, runner-up for the last two years also went out, in his case to Australian young gun Jason Day, but there will be a European in Saturday’s quarter-finals as Luke Donald and 17-year-old Italian wonder kid Matteo Manassero won through to face each other.
Donald beat his Ryder Cup teammate Edoardo Molinari 2&1 – he was never behind – while 17-year-old Manassero, the youngest-ever player in the event, followed up his victory over Steve Stricker with a last green success over South African Charl Schwartzel.
While the world number one went out, the world number two had to work overtime to make round three with Martin Kaymer winning on the second extra hole against Englishman Justin Rose.
The German US PGA Champion was never behind, but Rose dug in to force the German to birdie the 20th hole to go through to a match against Hunter Mahan after the American put out Sweden’s Robert Karlsson.
Westwood, two down with five to play, birdied the 14th and should have levelled on the short 16th when Watney had two in a greenside bunker, but he three-putted from under 20 feet for a half in bogeys.
Watney missed a four-footer for the match at the next, but safely two-putted the last after Westwood had failed with a 15-foot birdie attempt.
“I putted very poorly all day long,” he said. “The game’s in good shape, but I have just not worked hard enough on my putting and it showed.”
Watney now takes on Ryan Moore in the last 16.
Given his status in the sport now, the result went down as a surprise despite his record in the tournament, but the scorelines that had everybody talking were those involving McIlroy and Mickelson.
McIlroy bogeyed the first, but then Crane charged six clear by reaching the turn in an approximate five under par 31. A par was good enough on the next and McIlroy then conceded before they even reached the 11th green.
“That was one of the best rounds I’ve ever played in my life,” said Crane. “Rory had a couple of balls in the desert, but I played exceptional and the round went all my way.
Next up for a Crane is a clash against Miguel Angel Jimenez.
The result stunned fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell, who beat Ryder Cup teammate and stablemate Ross Fisher to reach the last 16 for the first time.
“I can’t really get my head around that right now,” he stated. “This course sets up for the Rory McIlroy type driver of the ball and Ben Crane is not really known for length, but a guy who is just holing everything on you can wear you out.”
As for his own 4&2 victory McDowell added: “It’s always funny against a friend. It’s difficult to get the killer instinct, that edge that you need.
“We threw each other a few holes, but thankfully I was able to hang in there and get the job done. It wasn’t pretty, but sometimes you can win ugly.”
He next plays Korean YE Yang, who beat Woods head-to-head for his first major title two years ago and knocked out holder Ian Poulter’s conqueror Stewart Cink on Friday.
Fowler, who now faces Matt Kuchar, finished off Mickelson with eagles at both the 11th and 13th – a result which coupled with that of McDowell means Europe will have the world’s top three on Sunday night for the first time since 1992.
It could even be the top four if Donald wins the title. Should that happen he might move ahead of McDowell into third.
JB Holmes, who only earned a place in the event after injury to Tim Clark on Tuesday, made it into the third round when he upset Ernie Els in a match that went the full 18 holes.
Bubba Watson put in a spectacular round to defeat Mark Wilson, who had put out Dustin Johnson, 6&5.
Watson, a big-hitting left-hander now plays Geoff Ogilvy, who ended Thomas Bjorn’s tournament a day after the Dane beat Woods.
Results in the second round of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play, Ritz-Carlton GC, Dove Mountain, Marana, Arizona, United States of America (USA unless stated):
Graeme McDowell (NIrl) bt Ross Fisher (Eng) 4 & 2
Stewart Cink lost to Y.E. Yang (Kor) 4 & 3
Ernie Els (Rsa) lost to J.B. Holmes 1 down
Matteo Manassero (Ita) bt Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 1 up
Luke Donald (Eng) bt Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 2 & 1
Rory McIlroy (NIrl) lost to Ben Crane 8 & 7
Ryan Palmer lost to Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa) 4 & 2
Phil Mickelson lost to Rickie Fowler 6 & 5
Matt Kuchar bt Bo Van Pelt 3 & 2
Thomas Bjorn (Den) lost to Geoff Ogilvy (Aus) 1 down
Mark Wilson lost to Bubba Watson 6 & 5
Lee Westwood (Eng) lost to Nick Watney 1 down
K J Choi (Kor) lost to Ryan Moore 5 & 4
Martin Kaymer (Ger) bt Justin Rose (Eng) at the 20th
Robert Karlsson (Swe) lost to Hunter Mahan 2 down
Paul Casey (Eng) lost to Jason Day (Aus) 4 & 2
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