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On to Round 3 of Match Play Championship - Lowry Advances
Proving that his shocking upset of No. 1-ranked Rory McIlroy wasn't a fluke, Shane Lowry made it through the second round at the WGC-Match Play Championship. The 25-year-old Irishman had a much more comfortable time of it Friday, beating Sweden's Carl Pettersson 6 and 5.
After snow suspended play on Wednesday, the $8.75 million PGA Tour event is back on track for its scheduled Sunday finish at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain near Tucson, Ariz.
Lowry, who won the European Tour's 2009 Irish Open as an amateur, carded five birdies and no bogeys en route to closing out Pettersson on the 12th hole. His next opponent is Graeme McDowell, who needed 20 holes to edge Sweden's Alexander Noren.
Lowry didn't want to be a one-and-done player this year; the three previous times a 64th seed beat the top seed in the championship he lost the next match. "To lose in the second round is not what I want coming here this week," he told PGATour.com. "I wanted to go on. I feel like I could potentially do very well in this tournament."
In another Bobby Jones bracket match, second-seeded Bubba Watson and No. 7 Jim Furyk waged a tight battle before Watson won with a par on the 22nd hole. The 2012 Masters' champion will encounter Aussie Jason Day, who needed 19 holes to get past Russell Henley.
In the Ben Hogan bracket, ninth-seeded Robert Garrigus continued his fine play. After beating Branden Grace 4 and 3 in the opening round, the long-hitting Nampa, Idaho, native took out No. 1 Louis Oosthuizen 3 and 2 on Friday.
Garrigus will next compete against Fredrik Jacobson, who sent Marcus Fraser packing with a 4 and 3 win. Garrigus is nothing if not confident this week. "I felt like I was playing better than anybody coming in here, so whatever seed it was didn't matter," Garrigus told PGATour.com of his opponents.
"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,' " Garrigus added. "If I'm putting well, I'm going to be hard to beat."
In the lower portion of the Hogan group, Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts ousted No. 2 seed Justin Rose 4 and 2. Colsaerts, like Garrigus one of golf's big bombers, feels that his length gives him an advantage at the treeless Dove Mountain layout.
"There's a couple of corners, a couple of carries I can take on, and if it works out, I have much shorter irons into greens than some of the other guys," he told PGATour.com. "So if I'm on, I'm going to give myself a lot of birdie tries. Obviously, match play you want to hole a few. And if that happens, you're probably going to come out on top."
Colsaerts will face steady Matt Kuchar in the third round. As the sixth seed in his bracket, the Georgia native beat No. 3 Sergio Garcia 2 and 1. Kuchar knew he'd be in for a tough outing with the match-savvy Spaniard. "It was a good battle with Sergio," Kuchar told PGATour.com.
"I felt like around this course, his power and driving ability was a big advantage, being able to take it over some of those cross bunkers. He's, I think, one of the best drivers in the game. It can make golf courses pretty easy driving it as well as he can. We had a good match that was kind of 1-up, 1-down, all the way through about hole 14. And then I had a great approach to two-and-a-half feet on 17 to be able to close the match out 2 and 1."
After completing his 2-up win in his first-round match over Italy's Francesco Molinari on Friday morning, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano moved on by eliminating Charles Howell III 6 and 5. Howell joined Lowry as one of the tournament's surprises with his 2 and 1 win over Tiger Woods in the first round.
The Spaniard will face Webb Simpson. The 2012 U.S. Open champion earned a weekend spot after getting past Peter Hanson by a slim 1-up margin.
In the other Player pairing, 2010 PGA champion Martin Kaymer advanced by beating 28-year-old Rafael Cabrera-Bello of Spain 2 and 1. On Saturday morning, the German will encounter Match Play defending champion Hunter Mahan, who vanquished South Africa's Richard Sterne 4 and 3.
Kaymer enjoys the Arizona venue, which reminds him of the Middle East, where he's had considerable success over the years - including three wins in the Abu Dhabi Championship.
"This is golf that I play very often," Kaymer told PGATour.com. "I don't mind playing here. I like it, it's just really nice. That's why I always play very well in the Middle East, very similar conditions to here."
Mahan also likes the course and the format. He should; Mahan has won 10 of his last 11 matches at Dove Mountain. "Confidence is high," the sixth-seeded Mahan told PGATour.com. "I know I can play this place well, and I know I can beat anybody on any given day."
In the Sam Snead bracket, Scott Piercy continues his torrid streak. After whipping Scotland's Paul Lawrie 4 and 3 Thursday, the Las Vegas native dispatched No. 1-ranked Luke Donald by a resounding score of 7 and 6. The 34-year-old Piercy carded five birdies and an eagle on the par-4 fifth after holing out from 228 yards to make the Donald match a runaway.
"I actually feel really relaxed out there," Piercy told PGATour.com. "Me and Luke's game are a lot different, and I feel like if I get things going, I've got a good chance of beating him. I played well, and he was off a little bit. That's why it looked so one-sided."
On Saturday morning Piercy will play Steve Stricker, who waged a tight contest with fellow American Nick Watney before prevailing on the 21st hole. As for meeting perhaps the hottest player left in the field, Stricker said at greenside, "You can't worry about the other player . . . You just have to focus on your own game."
In the bottom of the Snead group, 15th seed Tim Clark also moved on to Saturday. After beating No. 2 seed Adam Scott 2 and 1 in the first round, the diminutive South African took out Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen 3 and 2. Clark will now face the always-dangerous Ian Poulter, who ousted Bo Van Pelt 3 and 1.
Poulter, who sparked the European Team to victory in Sunday's singles matches at the 2012 Ryder Cup, was the Accenture Match Play champion in 2010 and is well-versed in the vagaries of match-play golf. "I played the type of golf that's going to be tough to beat," the Englishman told PGATour.com. "Very pleased how I took some mistakes from yesterday and kept a very clean round."
The eight quarterfinal matches will start at 12:20 p.m. ET. The four winners will advance to the semifinals Sunday morning, with the two winners moving on to the 18-hole championship match that afternoon.
For complete scoring details, visit http://www.worldgolfchampionships.com/accenture-match-play-championship/leaderboard.html.