Tiger Rolling Along Lefty Leaving

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2007- WGC-AccentureMARANA, Ariz. -- Tiger Woods had an easy time advancing Thursday in the Accenture Match Play Championship. And with Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson and the other top seeds no longer around, his road to an eighth straight PGA Tour victory started looking easier, too.
 
Woods was 5-up through six holes and never serious challenged by Tim Clark, the South African recovering from a neck injury and playing his first tournament of the year. The result was a 5-and-4 victory, the shortest match of the second round.
 
Mickelson's up-and-down West Coast Swing came to a stunning end with an incredible up-and-down by Justin Rose.
 
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson was ousted by Justin Rose in the second round. (WireImages)
Lefty figured the match would be all square going to the par-3 16th tee after Rose, who was 1-up, hit into the desert brush and had to chip out backward to the fairway, hitting this third shot 30 feet short of the flag.
 
Rose's par putt dropped on the last turn, however, keeping the lead and momentum on his side. Mickelson felt he had no choice to go after what he called a 'carnival' pin on the 16th, and it went a 3 yards too far and off a shelf, leading to bogey.
 
Rose closed him out with a birdie on the 17th to win, 3 and 1.
 
'It looked like all I had to do was make par and the match would be even,' Mickelson said. 'That hurt the most.'
 
Chad Campbell pulled off a valiant rally against Furyk, making an 18-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to go overtime, then two-putting from 50 feet for birdie to win in 19 holes.
 
That left Woods, the No. 1 seed, as the only player among the top eight seeds still around.
 
But all he had to was look at his third-round match Friday to realize how far he has to go. Next up is Nick O'Hern, a short but straight-hitting Australian who beat Woods two years ago at La Costa.
 
'I'm sure he will obviously take positive vibes from what he did the last time we played,' Woods said. 'But the whole idea is you've got to play well.'
 
Woods had no trouble with that on a warm, sunny afternoon in the high desert north of Tucson.
 
He won the first two holes with a two-putt birdie and a bogey by Clark at No. 2, then poured it with three straight birdie putts. When he drove to the front of the 12th green for his seventh birdie of the round, and Clark missed a 4-footer, Woods was 6-up and counting the holes until it was over.
 
'I played well today. I put a lot of pressure on Timmy,' Woods said. 'He's still a little bit hurt. But I just wanted to put as much pressure as I possibly could on him and not give him any holes with bogeys. I did that today. I made a few putts, and Tim made a couple mistakes. And basically, I ended up having a pretty good-sized lead early in the match.'
 
Woods is among five players who have yet to trail over two days at The Gallery. The others are O'Hern, David Toms, Ian Poulter and Stephen Ames, who staved off a birdie-birdie finish by Vijay Singh and beat the Fijian in 19 holes.
 
The highest seed still alive is Shaun Micheel, who thrives in match play whether it's in dreary ol' England or sunny Arizona.
 
Micheel ended Woods' worldwide winning streak at five last September by beating him handily in the first round of the HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth. After beating third-seeded Adam Scott in 21 holes on Wednesday, Micheel birdied his last two holes to steal a 1-up victory in the second round over Rod Pampling.
 
Still around in Woods' half of the draw are Henrik Stenson, who beat Woods in Dubai three weeks ago; and Trevor Immelman, who won the Western Open, the last PGA Tour event Woods played without going home with the trophy.
 
Mickelson ends his first part of the season with a mixed bag of results -- a five-shot victory at Pebble Beach, a playoff loss to Charles Howell III at Riviera after leading by two shots on the back nine, and an early exit from Match Play. It was the first time in five years that Mickelson failed to advance to the third round.
 
Mickelson and Rose halved only three of the first 12 holes -- all those with birdies -- and Mickelson was looking late in the back nine for an opening to square the match and let his experience take over. He figured he had it when Rose drove into the desert on the 15th and hit his third shot before Mickelson hit wedge for his second.
 
Then came Rose's putt, and Mickelson felt like a batter who froze on a 3-2 curve that broke over the plate.
 
'I wanted to tee off first on the 16th and hit it the middle of the green,' Mickelson said. 'He hit the green, and I had to be aggressive. It was a carnival pin, and I hit it 3 1/2 to 4 yards too far.'
 
The ball trickled down a swale, and Lefty faced a delicate chip up the slope, with the green then running swiftly toward a false front. His chip caught the hole, trickled to the slope and Mickelson stood their staring, hoping that the ball would stop. It didn't, rolling off the green, and his par putt also caught the lip.
 
Rose found a greenside bunker on the par-5 17th, blasted out to 4 feet and never had to putt. Mickelson went through the green, but his chip checked and he missed a 10-footer for birdie, removing his visor when the ball slid by on the right.
 
Why not play it safe on the 16th and take his chances?
 
'The 17th was a hole we both would probably birdie,' Mickelson said. 'And I didn't want to leave it up to 18.'
 
Instead he was leaving, with Furyk, Retief Goosen, and Singh fast behind.
 
That doesn't mean Woods has to the show to himself. Still around are two past champions -- David Toms and Geoff Ogilvy -- and Paul Casey, who won at Wentworth five months ago.
 
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