Easy does it for Els in Arizona
Ernie Els will face Victor Dubuisson and Jason Day will come up against Rickie Fowler in the semi-finals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on Sunday.
Els and Day advanced to the last four with relative ease, while Day and Fowler had far tougher quarter-final matches – as popular golf betting websites like Paddy Power challenged the odds.
Day became the first player to reach the last four at Dove Mountain when he beat Louis Oosthuizen 2 and 1, while Els led from start to finish to overpower Jordan Spieth 4 and 2.
Fowler was involved in a see-saw match against American compatriot Jim Furyk. After 12 holes Fowler led the veteran Furyk by three holes, only to find himself on down with two to play. From there, Furyk capitulated to hand the youngster a one up win.
“Jim started to come on pretty hard there, I just had to stay patient,” Fowler told CBS Sports after his round.
“I forced him to make some birdies.
I knew it was going to be tough for him to keep on doing that.
“I just made some good swings coming in. Obviously it’s nice to get a win, no matter how it happens.”
In arguably the closest match of the day, Dubuisson edged McDowell one up as well.
The Frenchman made his matchplay debut in Arizona this week and had to battle back from two down after three holes to wrest control of the match after 12 holes thanks to five back-to-back birdies.
McDowell then had an opportunity to take the match to extra holes on the 18th, but his 25-foot putt slipped past the edge of the cup to hand Dubuisson the win.
“I played well today,” said world number 30 Dubuisson following his victory.
“I knew Graeme was going to be a tough player to beat. I didn’t watch him too much. I tried to just focus on my game and I try to make birdies.”
Oosthuizen made a fast start in his match against Day – birdying the second and third – before the Australian took charge of the match while the South African received treatment on a back injury from his physiotherapist.
“We both played well today, it didn’t seem like Louis had a sore back because the way he played was pretty good,” Day noted.
“We both fought hard.”
Els, who could become the oldest winner of the tournament at 44 years of age, went one up at the second and never gave an off-colour Spieth a look-in.
“I played relatively solid golf,” Els said after reaching his first semi-final in the event for 13 years.
“I got it up and down when I needed to. I am fortunate to go through. Jordan was a bit off.”
The semi-finals will be played early on Sunday, before the 18-hole final takes place later on the same day, with golf betting odds across the Internet intriguingly balanced.
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