Watson the only top 10 seed left at Match Play
By Doug Ferguson, APMARANA, Arizona--More top seeds tumbled out of the Match Play Championship on Friday, making the word 'upset' more a description of the mood of the losers than any shock at the results in golf's most unpredictable tournament.
February 24, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
Luke Donald, the No. 3 seed who is regarded among the best in match play, suffered his worst loss in 25 matches at this tournament. Louis Oosthuizen (No. 4) and Justin Rose (No. 5) never even reached the 17th tee before they were sent packing. They joined Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, who both lost on Thursday.
When another wild day ended at Dove Mountain, Masters champion Bubba Watson was the last man standing among the top 10 seeds.
“This game ... it's a toss-up,” Watson said after going 22 holes to beat Jim Furyk. “You can't really judge who's going to win, or bet who's going to win.”
Watson missed a 5-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole that would have won the match. He missed another 5-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole. He had to stand to the side of the green as Furyk stood over a 12-foot putt to win the match. Given new life, Watson finally advanced to the third round.
It was the first time since this World Golf Championship began in 1999 that only one top-10 seed was remaining after two rounds.
“We're beyond surprises, in this event especially,” Graeme McDowell said 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.”
“It's fun when you're sitting in a car 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.”
Donald, who birdied his last two holes Thursday to win his opening match, didn't know what hit him.
Scott Piercy won the first three holes, and if that wasn't enough, he hit a 4-iron into the cup for eagle on the fifth hole and was on his way to a 7-and-6 win, a margin known as a “dog license” in Britain. Back in the day, such licenses used to cost 7 schillings and six pence.
“Losing (stinks) and it's very disappointing,” Donald said. “But I would have liked to have given him a bit better of a match.”
Piercy is having a blast in his first match play since he won US$2 million 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$1.5 million, and he still has to win four more times, starting with Steve Stricker on Saturday.
Robert Garrigus never trailed against Oosthuizen — Garrigus hasn't trailed at all this week — and sounded as though he had penciled himself into the final.
“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.”