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September 23, 2017

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Rose, McIlroy, Stenson crash out of Match Play leaving no top seeds

MARANA, Arizona -- Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson were ousted in Thursday's second round of the World Golf Championships Match Play Championship, leaving no top seeds among the final 16 players.

England's Rose, the reigning U.S. Open champion, was the last lead man in his quarter of the bracket to fall, being taken out in 20 holes by four-time major winner Ernie Els of South Africa.

After winning 17 to square the match and halving 18 with pars, Els matched Rose with a nine-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole.

Els lofted a pitch to three feet on the last hole to win as Rose took two shots to escape a bunker.

"It was one of those once in a lifetime shots really," Els said. "I was in the downhill on the back of the bunker. I caught it a smidge thin and it came out perfectly. It was an impossible shot but obviously it was the right one at the time."

Els reached a third-round matchup with 2013 PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner, who eliminated Italy's Matteo Manassero 2 and 1.

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, dispatched Sweden's third-ranked Stenson 4 and 3 while American Harris English defeated McIlroy in 19 holes.

Stenson's defeat continues a trend in which the overall highest-ranked starter at the $9 million event has not gone beyond the second round since 2008.

Oosthuizen never trailed, going 2-up after an 18-foot eagle at the second. He took the 12th when Stenson missed a 16-foot par putt and then sank a 20-foot birdie at 15 for the triumph.

"I played pretty solid," Oosthuizen said. "I just kept it together. Just played solid and made nice putts on the back nine."

Oosthuizen will next face American Webb Simpson, who ousted countryman Brandt Snedeker 4 and 3, and could meet Australian second seed Jason Day in the quarter-finals.

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