Running blog: WGC-Accenture Match Play Day 2
- By Randall Mell
- Feb 23, 2012 6:08 PM ET
MARANA, Ariz. – Day 2 of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship is underway at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain. GolfChannel.com senior writer Randall Mell is on site with a running blog of the second-round action. (Click for: Scoring, Day 1 running blog)
All times ET
6:08 p.m.: Matt Kuchar defeats Bubba Watson 3 and 2 to advance into the third round. Kuchar will meet Martin Kaymer.
Though Kuchar was 40 yards behind Watson’s drives all day, he wore out Watson with his iron play and short game. Kuchar also defeated the longer Watson in the third-place match here last year.
“You look to last year, and look at Luke Donald, short and steady player, goes on to win it, it can work,” Kuchar said. “I think length is always an advantage. And I think definitely an advantage around here. Bubba can just hit short irons into these greens and make them stop. I'm hitting longer irons and trying to land it on the front of the green and hope I catch the right hill or mound and hope it ends up in a good position. So, it’s a little more difficult, but you don't have to look very far to see what happened last year.”
5:56 p.m.: On the range before defeating Robert Karlsson 3 and 2, Lee Westwood watched his racehorse, Rerouted, finish second in Dubai.
“He’s a good horse,” Westwood said. “He just doesn’t win.”
Westwood said the horse finishes second a lot.
“I can relate to that,” Westwood cracked.
Westwood has his eye on a victory this week. He meets the Nick Watney-Tiger Woods winner in the third round. In 12 WGC-Accenture starts, this is the first time Westwood has advanced to the third round.
4:47 p.m.: Aussie John Senden on his stunning 6-and-5 rout of Jason Day, the No. 7 player in the world: “I had the pressure on him early. I had good putts on one, three and four and was 3 up. He sort of made the mistakes to force the match to go further and further my way.”
4:15 p.m.: Mark Wilson vs. Dustin Johnson will offer a severe contrast in styles Friday in the third round. Wilson ranks 159th in driving distance, averaging 280 yards per drive. Johnson ranks seventh in driving distance, averaging 306 yards per drive. Wilson’s tactician’s game prevailed last year, when he defeated Johnson in the first round in 19 holes.
3:51 p.m.: Stricker's scouting report of Mahan: "Good match play player. He's in every hole, doesn't hit it crooked. His all-around game is good. We have been at it before, and we have been teammates before on a Presidents Cup team and Ryder Cup team. It's going to be tough. It's tough playing a friend, too. You have got to put that friendship aside for a day and try to beat him."
3:41 p.m.: Hey, Hunter Mahan, no softening up the competition before moving in for the golf kill.
Mahan on third-round opponent Stricker: “Steve has a great perspective on life because he was a great player early on and then he kind of oh lost it, kind of disappeared. Then he's worked his butt off to get back to this position and being a top-5 player in the world. It's pretty amazing. He's a great guy to talk to. He's so open, so nice. I mean, he's just a normal guy who plays golf for a living and that's it. There's no more – there's no celebrity to him whatsoever. He's a great guy to be around and has great energy."
Hunter Mahan’s 5-and-3 rout of Y.E. Yang sets up a third-round match against Steve Stricker, who defeated Mahan in this event four years ago, winning in the second round in 20 holes.
3:03 p.m.: Y.E. Yang never had a chance with the day’s first match closed out. Hunter Mahan birdied five holes in a row on the front side, six of the first eight on his way to a 5-and-3 runaway. Mahan's back in the third round, where he advanced last year before losing to Martin Kaymer. Mahan will get the Stricker/Oosthuizen winner.
2:56 p.m.: Kyle Stanley and Brandt Snedeker can’t seem to shake each other.
Their second-round match marks the third time they’ve played together in eight days. Snedeker, if you’ve forgotten, is the guy who won the Farmers Insurance Open when Stanley collapsed at the end.
Through four holes Thursday, they’re all square.
Stanley, if you’re keeping score, got the best of Snedeker in both their first- and second-round pairings at the Northern Trust Open last week. Stanley shot 74-68, Snedeker 75-70, but Snedeker (T-17) finished the tournament a shot better than Stanley (T-24).
2:21 p.m.: Ernie Els made his belly putter sing at the second, rolling in a delicate 5-foot downhill birdie putt to win the hole. He is all square now with Peter Hanson. Is there a more sentimental favorite than the Big Easy this week? The former No. 1 barely snuck into the field.
1:46 p.m.: Bubba Watson blasted his pink-headed and pink-shafted driver 330 yards down the middle at the second hole, 40 yards past Kuchar's driver. Kuchar, though, won the hole to go 1 up. Kuchar got up and down for par. Watson couldn't do the same from virtually the same position, though Watson was in longer grass.
1:37 p.m.: Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar are chatting up a storm early in their match. I didn't think Georgia and Georgia Tech grads did anything but talk trash to each other. Somebody alert Charlie Rymer. We are all square through one hole in this Bulldog/Yellow Jacket matchup.
1:21 p.m.: Bubba Watson just rocketed a hybrid at the first tee about 10 yards farther than Matt Kuchar hit his driver. Ouch!
1:10 p.m.: Ernie Els is on the practice putting green, looking pretty good with that belly putter as he prepares to meet Peter Hanson in about 40 minutes. Who would have thought Els would prevail so soundly Wednesday against world No. 1 Luke Donald, normally a fabulous putter? And who would have thought Els would putt so well on these severe greens? It bodes well not only for Els' bid to make it to this April's Masters, but to have a chance there. He said last week it ought to be banned, but I wonder if he will reconsider if it revives his game. Els is No. 68 in the world. He needs to climb into the top 50 over the next five weeks to earn a Masters' invite, or win a PGA Tour event before the Masters.
12:23 p.m.: There are some fabulous third-round possibilities, particularly on the right side of the bracket (Gary Player/Sam Snead brackets). Here is what is possible Friday, depending on the second-round outcomes:
Rory McIlroy vs. Keegan Bradley – Two young major championship winners.
Charl Schwartzel vs. Jason Day – Schwartzel says “the mind” is the most important club in the bag. Day worked some match-play “mind games” last year.
Tiger Woods vs. Lee Westwood – Tiger against the guy who ended his run at No. 1 in the world.
Matteo Manassero vs. Ryo Ishikawa – Youth isn’t wasted on the young. They’re the two youngest players in the field.
11:35 a.m.: The scorekeeper wished Steve Stricker a "Happy Birthday" at the first tee. "Shhhhhh," Stricker told her. "Don't tell anyone." Stricker turns 45 today. He also leads off Accenture's second round, striping the first tee shot of the day down the middle in match against Louis Oosthuizen.
Watch live coverage of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on Golf Channel, Thursday/Friday 2-6PM ET; Saturday noon-2PM ET; Sunday 8AM-1PM ET. NBC coverage can be seen live Saturday/Sunday, 2-6PM ET.
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