Match by match: Round 2 WGC-Accenture results

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 20, 2014, 10:50 pm

With the field pared to 32, match play continued Thursday at Dove Mountain. Here's a look at the results from the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship:

HOGAN BRACKET

Sergio Garcia (2) def. Bill Haas (7), 3 and 1: Garcia faced a 2-down deficit after seven holes Thursday, but managed to bounce back with an eagle on the par-5 eighth. The match was even when the pair stepped to the 14th tee, but from that point the Spaniard took command, winning three of the final four holes. With the win, Garcia advances past the second round in this event for just the second time since 2006.

Rickie Fowler (14) def. Jimmy Walker (6), 1 up: One day after taking out match-play stalwart Ian Poulter, Fowler added another scalp to his collection by taking out arguably the Tour's hottest player. The match was both closely contested and well-played, with both players pouring in birdies and neither holding larger than a 1-up lead. Fowler took the upper hand with a win on the 17th, though, and held off Walker with par save on the home hole. He'll now face Garcia in what should be a rather intriguing third-round match.

Jim Furyk (5) def. Charl Schwartzel (4), 3 and 2: Schwartzel won two of the first three holes to take an early advantage, but Furyk turned the tide by winning three straight holes from Nos. 11-13. After the South African made double bogey on No. 16, Furyk won his fifth hole of the back nine, and as a result he advances to play again on Friday.

Harris English (9) def. Rory McIlroy (1), 19 holes: This was one of the day's best matches, and closely contested throughout. English was 2-up through 13 holes but the Ulsterman rallied, winning three holes in a row to take a slim advantage. English leveled things with a birdie at No. 17, though, and went on to clip the former world No. 1 on the first extra hole.


SNEAD BRACKET

Victor Dubuisson (7) def. Peter Hanson (15), 3 and 1: The Frenchman stormed out to an early lead, winning each of the first three holes, but Hanson leveled the match by winning three of the next four. The Swede was ultimately undone by the four par-5s at Dove Mountain, playing them in 3 over Thursday, and never led during the match. Dubuisson padded his lead to 2 up on No. 13 and closed things out when Hanson conceded on the 17th green.

Bubba Watson (3) def. Jonas Blixt (11), 2 up: Watson built a quick 3-up advantage over Blixt, though the Swede battled back and was eventually able to trim his deficit to only 1 down heading to 18. Blixt pulled his final tee shot though and ended up underneath a jumping cholla near the green - hardly ideal position. The hole was conceded shortly thereafter, and Bubba will now face Dubuisson on Friday.

Hunter Mahan (8) def. Richard Sterne (16), 2 up: After dispatching Zach Johnson on Wednesday, Sterne put forth another solid effort and actually led for much of the match. Mahan squared things with the South African on the 15th hole, then won each of the final two to advance at an event where he won in 2012 and finished second in 2013.

Graeme McDowell (4) def. Hideki Matsuyama (5), 1 up: Matsuyama built a 3-up advantage after just six holes, but the Ulsterman slowly whittled away at his deficit and squared the match for the first time on No. 17. He took his first lead of the day one hole later, closing out the Japanese phenom with a ticklish 15-foot, downhill put to set up a 2010 Ryder Cup rematch with Mahan.


PLAYER BRACKET

Jordan Spieth (3) def. Thomas Bjorn (6), 5 and 4: Several of the second-round matches were closely contested, but this one was over quickly. Spieth won four of the first seven holes to build a sizeable advantage and then held on to defeat the Danish veteran, who failed to win a single hole during the match. Spieth certainly didn't give him much of a window - the 20-year-old's only bogey Thursday came on the 12th hole, at which point he had already amassed a 5-up lead.

Matt Kuchar (2) def. Ryan Moore (7), 1 up: Two former U.S. Amateur champs played a close match Thursday, but it was the defending champ at Dove Mountain who ultimately emerged victorious. While 15 of the 18 holes were halved in the match, Kuchar's win with a birdie on No. 15 proved to be the difference, and he'll now face Spieth in a compelling third-round matchup.

Jason Dufner (4) def. Matteo Manassero (12), 2 and 1: The young Italian had a 2-up lead through eight holes, and Dufner didn't lead the match until he left the 16th green with a 1-up advantage. The match appeared to be heading to the final hole until Dufner's chip from behind the 17th green rattled the pin and dropped, giving him an unexpected birdie. The reigning PGA champ won the match moments later when Manassero was unable to convert a birdie try of his own from the edge of the green.

Ernie Els (8) def. Justin Rose (1), 20 holes: Els had the early lead, but he had to hole a long par putt on 18 to send the match to extra holes. After birdies were exchanged on the 19th, Rose flubbed a greenside bunker shot on the 20th hole to give Els the advantage. Els was able to get up and down from an awkward lie and defeat the U.S. Open champion.


JONES BRACKET

Louis Oosthuizen (8) def. Henrik Stenson (1), 4 and 3: This event has long been cold to its top overall seed, and that trend continued this week as Stenson was sent to an early exit on Thursday. Oosthuizen won three of the first four holes - twice via concession - and never really looked back, as he held at least a two-hole advantage from the second hole onward.

Webb Simpson (5) def. Brandt Snedeker (4), 4 and 3: In a match pairing two match play veterans, Simpson amassed a 4-up lead after just six holes and managed to keep the former FedEx Cup champ at bay from that point. Snedeker trimmed his deficit to 2-down after 10, but Simpson won the next hole and wasn't closely challenged again. He'll now play Oosthuizen on Friday in a contest between two former major winners.

Jason Day (2) def. Billy Horschel (10), 22 holes: This match seemed to be over quickly, as Horschel won three straight holes from Nos. 2-4. Day rallied back across the inward nine, though, and finally drew even with Horschel after 16 holes. The duo halved a number of holes from that point, but Day finally broke the deadlock with an accurate approach on the 22nd hole that led to a clinching birdie.

George Coetzee (14) def. Patrick Reed (11), 21 holes: Reed let one get away in this match, as he led the entire back nine and held a 1-up advantage on the 18th hole. WIth Coetzee off the green, Reed found trouble with his approach and the South African was granted new life. Coetzee ended one of the day's longer matches when he stuffed his approach to the 21st hole and Reed was unable to hole a lengthy birdie try of his own.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.