Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy out at Match Play Championship

The unlikeliest of players, left the course, wanting. An upset for sure

Bubba Watson the only Top-10 Seed Left


1The Match Play Championship saw surprises in the first round, at Dove Mountain in Marana, Arizona.  Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, and Tiger Woods, were all eliminated.  As of today, Saturday, only one of top 10, remain in contention, Bubba Watson.  And, it wasn’t easy for him, as it took 22 holes, for Bubba, to finally send Jim Furyk home.  This is the first time since 1999, that the World Golf Championship has seen only one top 10 player remain.

Luke Donald lost to Scott Piercy.  Louis Oosthuizen never led in his match with Robert Garrigus, and Justin Rose couldn’t keep up with the play of Nicolas Colsaerts.

When Garrigus was interviewed after his victory, and asked if he thought at the beginning of Friday’s round, that he would be playing on Saturday:  “I looked at all the guys in my bracket and I was like, ‘I can beat him. I can beat him. And I can beat him.’ If I’m playing well and putting well, I’m going to be hard to beat. And a lot of guys, will tell you that too, because I hit the ball in the fairway. Because these fairways are huge, and if I can keep it out of the bushes, I’ll be all right out here.”

We’ll find out today when he will be paired with Jason Day.  Day had to overcome a clutch putt on the 18th by rookie Russell Henley, winning on the 19th.

“I think we’re beyond surprises, in this event especially,” said Graeme McDowell, after needing 20 holes to beat, Alex Noren. “Anybody can have a great day and anybody can have a tough day. It’s what makes the game exciting, and it’s what makes this game extremely fickle and extremely frustrating.”

Asked if he was having fun:  “Yeah, it’s fun when you’re sitting in a cart coming back from a second playoff hole having won,” McDowell said. “I drove past Alex Noren in the car park and he’s dragging his flight bag to the locker room. And he’s not having fun.”

Shane Lowry, who defeated McIlroy in his first round, set a historical mark, becoming the first ’64’ seed to advance to the third round.  He outplayed Carl Pettersson, 6 and 5.

Next up for Lowry is Graeme McDowell, who said about his opponent:  “I always think that 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. I really feel like he’s got those three qualities and he’s always had them. It never surprises me when he does things like this, on the biggest stage. I think he’s a quality player and certainly one to look out for in the future. I just hope he doesn’t go crazy on me in the morning.”

The man who beat close friend Tiger Woods, Charles Howell III, wasn’t so fortunate.  Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano never lost a hole, and won 6 and 5.

Other notables remaining are defending champion Hunter Mahan, Webb Simpson, Steve Stricker, and Ian Poulter.

As the golfers themselves are saying, anyone can win this tournament.

James Turnage

Columnist-The Guardian Express

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