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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. Rickie Rolls On.

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Rickie Fowler rolls on at the Accenture Match-Play tournament at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Course on Dove  Mountain in Arizona.

Day 4: Match recaps

Rickie Fowler / Getty Images

 Rickie Fowler has a strange nightly routine, climbing a rugged hill adjacent the Ritz-Carlton where he is staying. The process seems to be working wonders as Rickie is on a roll here at the Accenture Match-Play, today beating Jim Furyk 1 up.

He spoke about the ritual;

“It’s a good little workout. It will get you sweating, I guess it’s been working.”

 Jason Day beat an ailing Louis Oosthuizen, who needed  lengthy treatment for a long-standing back injury before play started and received more massage out on the course, before eventually losing 2 and 1 to Jason.

Jason talked about being wary of the wounded golfer;

“It’s that old saying, beware of the wounded golfer. I think he went out the last four days with no expectations and I think that’s why he’s playing so great. I wanted to play good myself and get through to the next day. I love the golf course and I just like that one-on-one match. It’s fun fighting it out to see who’s best”

Louis admitted he was not feeling that great;

“I was disappointed to start on the range this morning not feeling too good. It got better, the last four or five holes I felt I could get through the ball better. It’s a bit painful that it always happens when I’m playing well and I need to address it big time and get it sorted. I felt I played really well but you can’t give away holes to a guy like Jason. I had a tough start and it was really tough to get back from that. If I take two or three days off, everything feels brand new, but it’s irritating that it’s coming back all the time.”

Ernie Els duly completed a 4-3 victory over Jordan Spieth, and said he was elated;

” I’m obviously elated to be going through, It’s been a wonderful week up to now. At times I haven’t played my best, as you guys have well documented and know, but it is match play – I’ve just done enough to get through. Today I felt like I played a little bit more solid, but still not quite to my expectations. Jordan obviously didn’t play as good as he did yesterday, thank goodness, and I was just a bit more solid.”

Jordan Tweeted;

“I’m embarrassed about the way I acted on the course today. Played like the 13 year old version of myself mentally.”

At the course he said;

“I didn’t have my swing, but I was a little mental midget out there. Actually kind of embarrassing looking back. I was dropping clubs and kind of just whining, and you just can’t do that. In match play you’ve got to keep your cool. Anytime you show that, it’s weakness.”

Victor Dubuisson prevented Graeme McDowell from completing his fourth comeback win, Victor  the winner on the 18th hole,1 up.

Semi-Final match ups, Jason Day will face Rickie Fowler, while Ernie Els plays Victor Dubuisson.

     

Accenture Match-Play. Rose & Rory Out. Magic McDowell Survives Again.

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Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy crashed out of the Accenture Match-Play tournament at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Course on Dove Mountain. Graeme McDowell survived another match where he looked like losing, once again.

Graeme McDowell  (Getty Images)

Survivor G-Mac / Getty Images

Justin went down to Ernie Els, 1 up, while Rory lost to Harris English, on the 19th hole. G-Mac went three down after six holes against  Hideki Matsuyama, of Japan. He then birdied the seventh and eighth to get within one hole, only to then lose the 14th to be two down with four holes to play. Graeme won the 15th and the 17th, and rounding off with  a ten foot putt on the final green to seal a one up win.

He joked afterwards;

“Why do it the easy way when the hard way will do. I just got off to a slow start again, probably less so today. I was quite proud of myself when I got a half on three, so I was only two down after three, as opposed to three down. I tried to go out there today and execute my game plan and try not to give him any room, try not to make any mistakes, try not to give him anything, and he kind of played the same kind of golf back. He played very, very well. 

“I made big putts on 15 and 16. The 16th especially was a massive putt to give me the opportunity.I feel very fortunate again today. I’ve certainly expended all my energy and emotions the last couple of days, but thankfully it’s early in the season and I’ve plenty left in the tank.”

Louis Oosthuizen dumped out Henrik Stenson 4-3, and Webb Simpson dispatched Brandt Snedeker by the same score.

George Coetzee is still doing fine, winning the 21 hole battle with Patrick Reed. Jason Day took even longer to overcome Billy Horschel, 22 holes.

Sergio Garcia is going along smoothly, a 3-1 victory over Bill Haas, while Jason Dufner eliminated Matteo Manassero by 2-1. 

Sergio said he had fun out there today;

“It was good fun, we both played hard. We both tried to play as well as we could to beat our opponent and I was fortunate to be just a little bit better than him today.”

A resurgent Rickie Fowler beat Jimmy Walker 1 up, Matt Kuchar beat Ryan Moore by the same score. Jim Furyk took care of Charl Schwartzel 3-2, and Jordan Spieth was too strong for Thomas Bjorn, beating him 5-4.

Victor Dubuisson continued to impress on his World Golf Championships debut as he overcame Peter Hanson 3 -1 to progress to face former Masters Tournament winner Bubba Watson, who saw off Jonas Blixt at the 17th hole when Jonas lost his ball under a bush. ( would have been ironic if Jonas had got a free drop, wouldn’t it)

Some good match ups tomorrow and any of the remaining players could win, as Graeme McDowell said yesterday, this is a brutal format.

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.”

Rory Rory McIlroy or Lee Westwood could take over No. 1 this week

With a win in the Accenture Matchplay Championships either Rory McIlroy or Lee West wood will take over a World #1 this week. Luke Donalds early exit from this competition gives both of them the opportunity to take the coveted  # 1 spot in the official rankings. What a great competition this turning out to be, except of course Tiger Woods fans, who watched him miss a simple 5 foot putt, to hand the victory to Nick Watney, Nick now faces Lee Westwood in the next round.

 Greenwood/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy, who was aware of the possibility of being #1 before the tournament began was determined not to let the ranking become his primary focus

“To be honest, I came in here yesterday and talked about if I play well and just win matches, that will take care of itself. But obviously it’s another incentive waking up each morning and knowing that if you win your match at the end of that day, at the end of the week you could be World No.1. Yeah, I haven’t really thought about it. I saw the result on one of the scoreboards on 17, I think. So, yeah, we’ll see what happens. I have to get through a lot of matches before that. But it definitely gives me an added incentive this week.”

Rory will face Miguel Ángel Jiménez in the next round after his win over  USPGA champion Keegan Bradley.

And then there were 16PETERSEN/GETTY IMAGE

Lee Westwood said about his progress that in 11 years of trying, the world No 2 had never reached the third round in this ultimate test of head-to-head nerve, until his 3&2 dispatch of Sweden’s Robert Karlsson sealed his place in the last 16.

“I feel like the first man on the moon. It’s one giant step, through to Match Play on Friday. I need more clothes, I didn’t pack for long enough.”

Lee’s big problem is he now faces Nick Watney the man who has eliminated the Englishmen two straight years. Steve Stricker on his 45th birthday also progressed to the next round after drilling in a 21 foot putt on the 18th to defeat Louis Oosthuizen.

We meet againGETTY IMAGES

Lee Westwood                                                                                                  Nick Watney

Steve Stricker, celebrating his 45th birthday,  drilled in a 21 foot putt on the 18th green to defeat Louis Oosthuizen, and after his first round drubbing of Luke Donald, Ernie Els had to taste some of the same medicine as he went down to Peter Hanson, 5 & 4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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