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Match Play Championship Down to Four Players
Though the run of Shane Lowry came to an end, four other players won their two matches Saturday to move on to the semifinals of the WGC- Match Play Championship at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain near Tucson, Ariz.
Advancing to Sunday morning's semifinal matches are Matt Kuchar, Jason Day, defending champion Hunter Mahan and Ian Poulter. The two winners in the morning qualify for the afternoon's 18-hole championship match.
After beating Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts 4 and 3 in the morning, Kuchar faced fellow American Robert Garrigus, who got to the quarterfinals after edging Fredrik Jacobson 3 and 1 in Saturday's first match. Kuchar took care of business by beating Garrigus 3 and 2 thanks to six birdies and some sloppy play by his opponent.
In one semifinal Kuchar will go against Jason Day, who, after beating Bubba Watson 4 and 3 in the morning, squeaked past former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell 1-up. McDowell had earlier scored a 3 and 2 victory over 64th-seeded Lowry, who in the first round ousted No. 1-ranked Rory McIlroy from the tournament.
Day, an Aussie with one PGA Tour title, said this tournament involves a lot of anxiety. "Very, very stressed," he said at greenside. "We played a lot of holes today. It's like playing (a final round) Sunday every round." Day exerted himself through 33 holes Saturday.
Kuchar was pleased to advance. "It's nice to be still alive and playing tomorrow," he told PGATour.com. "Robert today gave me a couple holes early. I got off to a nice lead and then I stumbled a little bit there kind of three-quarters into the round and kind of felt like we were back in a battle again.
"I was pretty excited to hit some good shots on 14, 15 and 16 to be able to close him out and be able to hopefully go home soon and get some rest."
Poulter, who spearheaded the European team's singles win and ultimate victory in the 2012 Ryder Cup matches at Medinah, is a veteran of match play, having won this tournament in 2010. The 37-year-old Englishman beat Tim Clark 5 and 3 in the morning, and then vanquished Steve Stricker 3 and 2 in the afternoon to set up his semifinal match with Mahan.
Poulter was happy to get past Stricker, who turned 46 Saturday. "Steve is always a tough person to beat, and he was going to play some good golf today," Poulter told PGATour.com.
"That's exactly what he did. I managed to keep my nose in front, I guess, with a typical match-play swing on the par-3 third hole. It looks like Steve is going to be going up right there, and I hole, he misses. And from then on I sort of took over and got myself in front."
Thanks to his Saturday wins over Martin Kaymer (5 and 4) and 2012 U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson (1-up), Mahan has now won 10 straight matches in the WGC event.
His semifinal with Poulter will be only the second time two former Match Play champions face off against each other at this stage (the other time was when 2007 champion Henrik Stenson and Tiger Woods faced off in 2008).
Mahan agreed with Day in his analysis of the WGC-Match Play Championship. "It's like a final round in each match. . . but it's exciting, too," said the Southern California at greenside.
For full scoring details, visit http://www.worldgolfchampionships.com/accenture-match-play-championship/leaderboard.html.