WGC Match Play, Day 2
By Torleif Sorenson on 2/21/14
On Wednesday's first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play, the top seed in the Sam Snead bracket was Zach Johnson, who then got wiped out by Richard Sterne, 5 and 4. During Thursday's second round, the other three number-one seeds went crashing down like a Jenga-block tower on a pan of Jell-O.

Bobby Jones Bracket

Eighth-seed Louis Oosthuizen took an early lead on top seed Henrik Stenson and kept his foot on the gas, defeating the Swede 4 and 3. Oosthuizen will face #5 Webb Simpson on Friday.

The top seed remaining in the Jones Bracket is #2 Jason Day from Australia, who defeated Thorbjørn Oleson 2-up on Wednesday, then went to overtime to oust Billy Horschel in 22 holes. On Friday, Day will face South African George Coetzee.

Ben Hogan Bracket

Top-seeded Rory McIlroy, who beat Boo Weekley 3 and 2 on Wednesday, was 1-up on 9th-seeded Harris English with two holes to play. But at 18, English sank a 20-footer to send Rors into overtime. On the 19th hole, McIlroy fell into 2013 Mode, sending his tee shot into the rough, sending his approach into the desert, then airmailing the green with his third. Double bogey, and the Holywood Matinee Idol was headed for the airport, but not before offering this diplomatic assessment of this second-round tilt:
"He played really solid today and didn't really do much wrong, didn't really give me anything. I don't feel in any way disappointed leaving so early because I feel like my game is there. I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks."
In the meantime, English will face #5 Jim Furyk on Friday.

Now, the highest seed remaining in the Hogan Bracket is... Sergio Garcia, who outlasted Aussie Marc Leishman in a 22-hole marathon on Wednesday, then disposed of Bill Haas 3 and 1 on Thursday. He will face 14th-seed Rickie Fowler on Friday in what should be an interesting match.

Gary Player Bracket

Eighth-seed Ernie Els pushed top-seeded Justin Rose into a playoff by getting up-and-down at 18. Then on the 20th hole, Rose left his shot in the sand. Meanwhile, Els' approach came to rest on the collar of the bunker, from where his recovery shot scooted to four feet. Game over, and Els will face $3 Jason Dufner on Friday.

Young hot-shot Jordan Speith continues to play without fear; the third-seed took down Denmark's Thomas Bjørn 5 and 4. On Friday, Speith will face second-seed Matt Kuchar, who eliminated Ryan Moore 2-up on Wednesday.



Sam Snead Bracket

Fourth-seed Graeme McDowell was 2-down after 14 against rising star Hideki Matsuyama, but birdied 15 and 17, then coaxed a par putt home at 18 to eliminate Matsuyama, 1-up. McDowell will face Hunter Mahan on Friday.

Third seed Bubba Watson, who is fresh off a win in Los Angeles on Sunday, is the highest seed left standing in the Snead bracket. On Wednesday, he bounced Finland's Mikko Ilonen 2 and 1, then eliminated Sweden's Jonas Blixt 2-up on Thursday. He faces #7 Victor Dubuisson of France on Friday.



Ch-ch-ch-Changes

Golf Channel's Rex Hoggard talked to a few influential people on Thursday, then speculated that...
  1. The format of the Match Play will change. One idea is to have 36 holes of medal play, followed by a cut to either 32 or even 16 players, with match play to determine the ulimate winner. An unidentified Player Advisory Committee member told Hoggard, "I could easily see that change."

  2. With most players generally displeased with Jack Nicklaus' design at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain and with the departure of Accenture as title sponsor, every indication now is that the Match Play will leave Marana, Arizona. Among the presumed destinations are Florida, Harding Park in San Francisco, or even Bogotá, Colombia.


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[ comments ]
Duke of Hazards says:
Now that Rory's out, I'm pulling for a Day / Spieth final.

Day grinds hard and is ruthless in match play, but Spieth is wearing some extra big-boy pants lately.
2/21/14
 
[ post comment ]
 
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