Sunday February 24, 2013
Donald and Oosthuizen join Rory and Tiger by the wayside
MARANA (Arizona): Luke Donald and Louis Oosthuizen followed Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods out of the World Golf Championships Match Play Championship on Friday with second-round defeats.
One day after the fickle nature of the match play format was amply demonstrated by the first-round upsets of world number one McIlroy and number two Woods, seeds continued to tumble.
American Scott Piercy thumped England’s world number three Donald 7 and 6, taking the lead at the first hole where Donald opened with a double bogey.
Piercy won the next two holes with a birdie followed by another bogey from Donald, and went 4-up at the fifth when he holed out from more than 200 yards away for an eagle.
He sealed the match with one last birdie, sinking a four-footer to close it out at 12. His victory over the 2011 winner of this World Golf Championships event was the most lopsided result of the week so far.
“I played well, and he was off a little bit,” Piercy said. “That’s why it looked so one-sided.”
Piercy is having a blast in his first match play since he won US$2mil in Las Vegas for something called “The Ultimate Challenge,” which was two days of match play and two days of stroke play.
All he can get from this event is US$1.5mil, and he still has to win four more times, starting with Steve Stricker on Saturday.
Donald, who characterised his game as “just very average,” was the top seed in his quarter and third seed overall in the 64-man field behind world number one McIlroy and number two Woods, who both fell in the snow-delayed first round on Thursday.
Fourth overall seed Oosthuizen, a former Masters champion from South Africa, joined the exodus of bracket leaders as he was beaten 3 and 2 by American Robert Garrigus.
England’s Justin Rose, the overall fifth seed, was also on his way home, falling 4 and 2 to Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts.
It marked the third time in the last five years that the top four seeds failed to make it past the second round.
By the end of the day, reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson was the only one of the tournament’s top 10 seeds remaining - and only after battling to a victory over Jim Furyk at the 22nd hole.
“This game... it’s a toss-up,” Watson said. “You can’t really judge who’s going to win, or bet who’s going to win. It really means nothing.”
Ireland’s Shane Lowry showed no letdown after his triumph over McIlroy, advancing with a convincing 6 and 5 victory over Sweden’s Carl Petterson.
He’s the first 64th seed to reach the third round in the 15-year history of the event.
Lowry booked a third-round match against another old friend from Northern Ireland, Graeme McDowell - who finally put away Sweden’s Alexander Noren at the 20th hole.
“I struggled to get to sleep last night,” Lowry admitted. “I played solid all day. I made a few birdies and didn’t do anything wrong, which is key in match play.”
Two more wins on Saturday and Lowry will qualify for the next WGC event at Doral in two weeks.
“Shane has got three or four of the qualities that are required to be a great player,” McDowell said.
“He drives the ball well, he’s got a phenomenal short game, and he’s got guts. “It never surprises me when he does things like this on the biggest stage. He’s a very quality player and he’s certainly one to look out for in the future. I just hope he doesn’t go crazy on me in the morning.”
US Open champion Webb Simpson moved on with a 1-up win over Sweden’s Peter Hanson.
Simpson next faces Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who cruised to a 6 and 5 victory over American Charles Howell a day after Howell outdueled Woods.
Defending champion Hunter Mahan defeated South African Richard Sterne 4 and 3 and former champion Ian Poulter of England downed American Bo Van Pelt 3 and 1. — Agencies