Accenture Match-Play Championship. Day Lights Up Dove Mountain.

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 Jason Day lights up the Accenture Match-Play Championship at the Ritz - Carlton Golf Course, on Dove Mountain, in Arizona.

Perfect Day denies Dubuisson

Jason Day with the Walter Hagen Cup / Getty Images

 Jason eventually overcame Victor Dubuisson at the 23rd hole to edge a win in an epic WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship final. Victor managed a couple of wonderful up and downs to deny Jason, he was still three holes down with just six  remaining. Victor reduced the deficit with a birdie on the 13th, and then kept the match alive with another on the 17th. All square at the end of regulation, Victor then  bounded through the green at the first extra hole, his ball coming to rest in a seemingly unplayable lie underneath a cactus. He somehow conjured a pitch onto the green and to within four feet of the hole, from where he holed for par after Jason had saved his par from a greenside bunker.

Following that escape Victor’s approach shot to the par four ninth careened into more desert bushes. Once agin he casually pitched out and calmly holed from seven feet for par after Jason had missed his birdie attempt.

Tom Watson Tweeted;

“Two of the greatest up-and/downs I have ever seen Victor!!!” 

 Gary Player agreed

“This is simply fantastic stuff!! @Vdubush is Houdini.”

Jason  finally sealed victory with a birdie on the fifth extra hole after an excellent pitch to three feet, he too was amazed at Victor’s escapes;

“The guy saves par straight out of the cactus twice and for a 23-year-old kid he has a lot of game and you are going to see a lot of him for years to come. I think the biggest thing was how much do I want to win. I kept saying that to myself last night and visualizing myself with the trophy and I am just glad I could finish it off.”

“The best thing about this is that every day felt like Sunday, it’s a good way to handle your nerves and understand what you are feeling under the pump. We played six rounds and just to know you can dig down and keep fighting and not quit until it’s over, that’s what it’s all about. I never wanted something so bad in my life and I am definitely very pleased with it.”

Victor ignored the two magical up and downs, and simply said;

”I’m disappointed because I made some terrible shots.”

In the third/fourth place play-off match, Ernie Els birdied the 18th to force extra holes, only for Rickie Fowler to make his own birdie on the first extra hole to take possession of third place.

 

Accenture Match Play Championship, Luke Donald and Justin Rose the Big Losers today.

Both Luke Donald and Justin Rose tumbled out of  the Accenture Match-Play Championship at Dove Mountain today. Luke crashed out & and 6 to Scott Piercy and Justin Rose fell to Nicolas Colsaerts 4 and 2.

Ian Poulter beat Bo Van Pelt 3 and 1 while Matt Kuchar dispatched Sergio Garcia 2 and 1. Louis Oosthuizen, an inform favorite for this competition fell to Robert Garrigus 3 and 2.

Shane Lowery continues his good form, beating Carl Pettersson 6 and 5, while another Irishman Graeme McDowell beat off the challenge of Alex Noren 1 up through twenty holes.

Bubba Watson continues his good form, beating Jim Furyk 1 up through twenty-two holes, a tense and tough struggle. Chucky Three Sticks could not continue where he left off when beating Tiger Woods,he fell to Gonzalo Fedez- Castano 6 and 5.

Martin Kaymer is still  in good shape as he defeated Raphael Cabrera-Bello.

This turning into a very interesting tournament, with so many top players falling over in the early rounds, there are no bookies favorites now, it is anybody’s tournament.

This how the match-ups are for tomorrow;

Match 49 (1st tee)
Match 49: 9:10 a.m. ET (7:10 a.m. local)
ROBERT GARRIGUS (2-0) vs. FREDRIK JACOBSON (4-3)

No player has made more birdies this week than Garrigus, who has 14 in his first two rounds at Dove Mountain. Garrigus has won 12 holes and lost just five. Although the 35-year-old Garrigus hasn’t played in a match play format in 18 years, he likes the challenge. “It’s a fun, fun format for me, especially if I’m rolling it well, and I am.” Jacobson’s opponents have made just two birdies against him.

Match 50 (1st tee)
9:22 a.m. ET (7:22 a.m. local)
NICOLAS COLSAERTS (2-1) vs. MATT KUCHAR (11-3)

Colsaerts will have the distance advantage off the tee; he and Bubba Watson are the only two players averaging more than 300 yards in driving distance this week. “If I’m on, I’m going to give myself a lot of birdie tries,” Colsaerts said. But he and Kuchar each have made an equal number of birdies this week (eight) and Kuchar doesn’t get phased by being outdriven.

Match 53 (1st tee)
9:34 a.m.ET (7:34 a.m. local)
SHANE LOWRY (2-0) vs. GRAEME McDOWELL (5-6)

For the second time this week, G-Mac faces a foe from Ireland, having already beaten Padraig Harrington. And for the second time this week, Lowry faces a foe from Northern Ireland, having upset Rory McIlroy. The two were expected to have dinner together Friday night. “A good craic and be a bit of banter,” Lowry said. McDowell has the experience edge, but he doesn’t think it’ll be a factor against Lowry. “If Rory didn’t intimidate him, I suppose what chance do I have?” McDowell said. The two practiced together earlier this week, with McDowell winning the stakes. “Hopefully I can continue that role tomorrow,” he said.

Match 54 (1st tee)
9:46 a.m. ET (7:46 a.m. local)
BUBBA WATSON (7-3) vs. JASON DAY (5-2)

Watson is the only player ranked in the top 10 in the world who remains in the field. He’s also played more holes than anybody else this week (39). Of those 39 holes, he’s only trailed after one hole. Both players are long off the tee, so Day doesn’t expect to give up much ground in distance. “I’m driving the ball really, really nicely,” he said.

Match 51 (10th tee)
9:10 a.m. ET (7:10 a.m. local)
SCOTT PIERCY (2-0) vs. STEVE STRICKER (14-9)

Piercy is coming off a surprisingly easy 7-and-6 win over top-seeded and world No. 2 Luke Donald. The Accenture Match Play Championship rookie now faces another former champion in Steve Sticker, who was taken to 21 holes by Nick Watney in the second round. Stricker acknowledged that while he wasn’t surprised to see Piercy win, the lop-sided nature of that victory “does catch your attention.” Piercy played his 12 holes on Friday in 7 under, too. “Maybe he used them all up today.”

Match 52 (10th tee)
9:22 a.m. ET (7:22 a.m. local)
TIM CLARK (7-7) vs. IAN POULTER (20-9)

These two players couldn’t be more different — the flashy Poulter and the steady-Eddy Clark. Poulter, who made seven birdies and no bogeys in beating Bo Van Pelt 3 and 1 in the second round, has prospered at Dove Mountain, too, winning in 2010 and reaching the consolation finals five years earlier. Clark, on the other hand, has never advanced past the third round and admits the 7,791-yard course is a challenge for a man who ranks 176th in driving distance. “On a day like today, I just accepted that and went about hitting good wedge shots,” said Clark, who beat Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen 3 and 2, “Sometimes if I can do that maybe I can get under the skin of my opponent.”

Match 55 (10th tee)
9:34 a.m. ET (7:34 a.m. local)
GONZALO FERNANDEZ-CASTANO (2-1) vs. WEBB SIMPSON (2-1)

Both players lost in the first round a year ago as they made their Accenture Match Play Championship debuts. In fact, until Fernandez-Castano, a former Spanish Amateur champ, beat Francesco Molinari 2 up on Friday morning he had never won a match as a pro on the 18th hole. “I’m starting to love (match play) again,” said Fernandez-Castano, who has made fewer bogeys than anyone in the field. Simpson, who has been sick most of the week, has only hit 50 percent of his greens in regulation, including just 10 in 18 holes on Friday, to rank last among the players remaining. He’s an opportunistic putter, though, which has carried him through the week.

March 56 (10th tee)
9:46 a.m. ET (7:46 a.m. local)
MARTIN KAYMER (11-5) vs. HUNTER MAHAN (12-4)

These two know what it takes to win at Dove Mountain. Mahan is the defending champion while Kaymer reached the title tilt in 2011 before losing to Luke Donald. The two have history, too — Kaymer beat Mahan 2 and 1 on the way to his runner-up finish in 2011. “It was a tough, really tight match, and he became a lot better player the last two years,” Kaymer recalled. “I have a lot of respect for him.” Mahan has wielded a hot putter this week taking just 44 rolls over 29 holes. “Confidence is high,” he said. “I know I can play this place well and I know I can beat anybody on any given day.”

Sony Open, Rookie Russell Rips Up the Record Books.

Smashing debut

Winning Rookie Russell Henley / Petersen/Getty Images

The Sony Open was won by rookie Russell Henley on his Tour debut, and doing so he ripped up the standing records for just about everything.

Russell  finished at -24 under par and a total score of 256, breaking by four shots the Sony Open in Hawaii scoring record, last set by Brad Faxon in 2001. Russell relegated Tim Clark into second place by three shots, Tim was himself on fire, he birdied seven of his last eleven holes and actually only made up one shot on Russell, the rookie from the University of Georgia.

Russell is now tied at the top the FedEx Cup standings in the company of Dustin Johnson on 500 points. The win was the second-lowest score for a 72-hole tournament in PGA TOUR history, two shots behind Tommy Armour III in 2003 at the Valero Texas Open. He also  set tournament records for the low 36-hole score after his 63-63 start, he shared the 54-hole record with Scott Langley and also set another tournament record with the lowest final round by a Champion.

Add to that he became the first PGA TOUR rookie to win his debut since Garrett Willis did at Tucson in 2001, and he will be going to the Masters in April, a local tournament for the boy from Macon, Georgia.

He said of his record breaking day that he had never been so nervous, you would not have imagined that watching him coming down the stretch on Sunday. He played the last nine holes superbly.

“I don’t really know what happened, honestly, this is the most nervous I’ve ever been. That’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s been my goal to make it to the Masters my whole life. I’m kind of speechless right now.”

With the results  of his Web.com Tour season last year and this win Russell Henley has already made it into the world rankings inside the top fifty.  That ranking will get him into the Accenture-Match Play Championship for the top 64 in the world, the qualifying date is only a month away, and he should also be in line for the other WGC at the Cadillac Championship, and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, not forgetting the PGA Championship. All in all quite a PGA TOUR debut, I look forward to watching Russell this season, it will be interesting to see how far he can go, he obviously has the talent.

 

Euro Tour WGC-HSBC Champions, China. Incredible Ian Poulter Wins

Ian Poulter  (Getty Images)

Ian Poulter/getty images

The incredible performances of Ian Poulter continue to impress everyone, as he pulled off another wonderful win at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Mission Hills, China, with a grittty -7 under par 65 last round to win in style. It was in the same fashion as his amazing Ryder Cup performance for Team Europe last month where he won all four of his matches, Ian’s putter display was as equally destructive at Mission Hills as he carded eight birdies before dropping a shot at the penultimate hole to finish with a score of -21 under par for the tournament. This victory is Ian’s 12th European Tour title and his second success in a WGC event,  he won the Accenture Match Play Championship in 2010. Ian spoke about his amazing run of recent form;

It’s been an amazing five or six weeks with The Ryder Cup, and then coming here in good spirits, I played well last week and took a lot from that. I knew that if I stayed patient I’d be right there at the end. It was a special day, I knew there was a good round of golf in me out there on that golf course. As we saw yesterday, if you start going low and get a number on the board then you’re going to be hard to beat. I feel confident with the putter right now. It’s so nice to get my hands on another trophy and get back in the winner’s circle. I feel fantastic, I feel great. After looking at the board after two days, Louis being five shots clear , if he carried on that way, he was going to run away. But it was nice to put up two scores over the weekend, -14 under for Saturday and Sunday is a decent finish, and nice to get another victory in a year where there one was sorely needed. As well as I’ve played this year, it would have been a disappointment personally to have gone that year without winning, and for me and for how I played this year, it’s obviously a great and fantastic feeling especially after The Ryder Cup to get my hands back on a great trophy like this. I definitely think it is a part continuation of The Ryder Cup. I played great and I felt like I holed putts at the right time, which I did. After two days, I felt I was probably too far back with the way Louis was playing, but as you saw anything is possible on this golf course once you get the putter warm. I’ve already spent the cheque last week. I’m not going to tell you what it is until it arrives and I’ve got it home safe and sound, but yes, it was a vehicle, and yes, it was very expensive. I’ll let you all know what it is when it arrives. Some things don’t change!”

Phil Mickelson shot -4 under par 68 last round which left him with a share of second place with compatriots Jason Dufner and Scott Piercy, as well as Open Champion Ernie Els. Phil missed a makeable birdie putt on the 18th, which would have given him second spot alone. For a good part of the day it appeared that Lee Westwood was going to break his WGC duck at the 41st attempt, but sadly his short game let him down on the 15th and a bogey there saw him sign for a par round of 72, the same as Louis Oosthuizen, as the overnight leaders tied for sixth. Martin Kaymer ran up a triple bogey six at the par three 17th after finding the greenside bunker, and followed that mistake with a poor bunker shot, and he eventually finished ninth behind first round joint-leader Adam Scott.

Congratulations to Ian Poulter, I can not wait to see what car he has bought, on offer last week were Ferrari, Maserati and Rolls Royce, my guess would be Maserati, I think that fits Ian’s style.