Running blog: WGC-Accenture Match Play Day 4


MARANA, Ariz. – Day 4 of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship is under way at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain. senior writer Rex Hoggard is on site with a running blog of the fourth-round action. (Click for Scoring)

All times ET

5:43 p.m.: Another match ends early at Dove Mountain with Rory McIlroy rolling over Sang-Moon Bae, 3 and 2.

The Lee Westwood-Martin Laird match is the only match still on the course with the Englishman 3 up through 15 holes.

5:26 p.m.: Good match play hole, this 15th at Dove Mountain. 

Rory McIlroy's 3-wood tee shot rolls back off the front edge of the putting surface, Sang-Moon Bae's driver finishes pin high right of the green.

Bae misses his birdie putt, McIlroy makes and goes 3 up. The crowd is entertained. Brilliant.

4:48 p.m.: It is shaping up to be a best-case-scenario for WGC-Accenture Match Play officials, with Lee Westwood 3 up in his match against Martin Laird and Rory McIlroy 1 up on Sang-moon Bae.

If either player wins this week they go to No. 1 in the world and, as if that's not enough subtext, it creates an interesting showdown between International Sports Management's top client (Westwood) and the firm's best former player McIlroy, who bolted ISM late last year.

4:26 p.m.: Rory McIlroy makes a mess of the 10th hole, hitting into the desert for the second time today, and drops into a tie with Sang-Moon Bae.

The way the afternoon matches are shaping up this morning's blowouts were little more than an under card for today's matinee.

3:47 p.m.: Following Matt Kuchar’s 7-and-5 loss to Hunter Mahan in the quarterfinals at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship he jokingly said he’d like to “punch (NBC Sports analyst) Nick Faldo in the back of the head,” in his post-match interview.

Kuchar later told GTC that he intended the comment to be a joke and that he has no ill will toward Faldo.

“I think I have a silly sense of humor and Nick’s a big boy. I don’t want any piece of him,” Kuchar smiled. “It was just a joke.”

Kuchar caught up with Faldo in the Dove Mountain parking lot before leaving and apologized personally. “He said it was fine. Really, I meant nothing by it,” Kuchar said.

3:15 p.m.: On Friday Lee Westwood talked about the extended session he had with Pete Cowan earlier this week to improve his chipping and the extra work seems to be paying off.

At the par-4 fourth hole Westwood managed to float his second shot to 10 feet from a difficult lie. Although he missed the birdie putt, and remains 1 down to Martin Laird, it is clear he’s made progress to improve the weakest areas of his game.

2:47 p.m.: Martin Laird birdies the first hole to go 1 up against Lee Westwood, who had not trailed in a single match this week, while Matt Kuchar continues to head for an early exit at Dove Mountain.

Kuchar hasn’t made a birdie in his match with Hunter Mahan and is 6 down through 10 holes.

1:51 p.m.: Matt Kuchar three-putts the seventh to go 4 down to Hunter Mahan in his quarterfinal match at Dove Mountain.At this rate he may be finished with his day before the third match of the day tees off (2:05 p.m. ET).

1:35 p.m.: More surprises from the morning's second game. 

Matt Kuchar, 1 down after a rinsed tee shot at the third, three-putted the fifth hole and airmailed the green at No. 6 to fall three holes behind Hunter Mahan.

For the day Kuchar is 3 over. 

1:12 p.m.: With a wedge in his hand from the fairway, Hunter Mahan hits his approach into the back bunker at No. 4 but he scrambles for par and Matt Kuchar fails to convert his 15-foot birdie putt. 

Neither American seems to have their best stuff so far this morning.

12:59 p.m.: Not the prettiest of starts for the all-American tandem of Hunter Mahan and Matt Kuchar at Dove Mountain. 

After trading pars on the first two holes, Kuchar's tee shot at the third finds the water and he goes 1 down heading to the driveable par-4 fourth hole.

12:38 p.m.: Peter Hanson rolled past Brandt Snedeker on Friday, birdieing his first three holes on his way to a 5-and-3 victory. Saturday at Dove Mountain is turning out to be a different story. 

Hanson bogeyed the first to fall 1 down to Mark Wilson and scrambled for birdie at the second to keep pace.

11:55 a.m.: For all but two of today’s Elite Eight at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship today’s quarterfinal round will be a new experience.

Only Matt Kuchar and Rory McIlroy have experience this deep into the Match Play, with the American advancing to the consolation match last year and the Ulsterman making it to the quarterfinals in 2009.

Lee Westwood, who plays Martin Laird in the day’s anchor match, had never advanced past the second round in 11 previous Match Plays while rookie Sang-Moon Bae is making his first Match Play start and Mark Wilson was bounced in Round 2 at his first Match Play last year.

Watch live coverage of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on Golf Channel, Saturday noon-2PM ET; Sunday 8AM-1PM ET. NBC coverage can be seen live Saturday/Sunday, 2-6PM ET.