The semi final winner of the Accenture Matchplay Championship between Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy will be 18 holes away from assuming the world golf ranking of #1.
Westwood dispatched Martin Laird 4 & 2, while Rory McIlroy cruised passed Sang-moon Bae of South Korea 3 & 2. Lee said of his round,
“Well, I played solidly. I didn’t make a bogey. Martin gave me a couple of birdies; I made three others. 5 under par is solid golf. The course felt trickier today. A little bit more breeze out there. A couple of the flags were really tough. Martin started the match how I would like to have started it. He birdied the first two holes and got 1 up. And I suppose I could have been 3 down after three holes. But I made a nice 4 footer for a half of the second, and he missed from what was a makeable chance. So it was just a case of not giving any holes away and waiting for Martin to make a mistake. He gave me a couple of holes on the turn on 7 and 9 and then the 10th really. So you can’t do that at this level.”
Asked about the upcoming semi with Rory, Lee replied,
“It’ll be exciting, won’t it? The seeds have worked out or they should work out. We’re both No. 1 seeds. That’s how it should be in the semifinals. One of us will have a chance to get to the final and win the tournament. That’s my main priority to go out tomorrow morning and play well.”
Rory also said the semi would be an exciting match,
“Walking around the locker room I said I’ll see you on the first tee tomorrow morning. Yeah, I think it’s the match that most people wanted and definitely the match that I wanted. And I’m excited about tomorrow. It should be a lot of fun and very exciting for everyone involved. The way Lee plays, you know he’s going to hit fairways, he’s going to hit greens, he’s going to put you under pressure the whole day. He’s not going to take his foot off the pedal. He’s not going to give you any holes. So you have to play the exact same way. You’ve got to hit fairways, hit greens, give yourself plenty of opportunities. And I think tomorrow it’ll just come down to who holes the most putts.”
Mark Wilson beat Peter Hanson 4 & 3, and Hunter Mahan was a 6 & 5 winner over Matt Kuchar. Mark was also looking forward to his match up with Hunter Mahan,
“Hunter tomorrow. A couple of Ping guys going at it. I have a lot of respect for what he’s done. I’m looking forward to it.”
Hunter spoke of his win over Matt Kuchar, saying,
“Today the course is playing tougher, didn’t make as many birdies. Matt didn’t play as well as he can or usually does. It made it easier to win a few holes with par. I think Mark is going to hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, he’s a steady, consistent player. He’s playing well now. It would be fun to play against a Ping guy in Arizona. That will be exciting.”
As at footnote the TV coverage for this event is like a breath of fresh air, the commentators, Ewen Murray, in particular gives concise and accurate opinions of the golfing action that’s taking place. The other channel seems to want to treat the viewer to a lighted comedy routine, endless repeats of old action, not to mention the commentators plugging the sponsors goods. So nice just to watch live golf, presented in a professional manner.