Running blog: WGC-Accenture Match Play Day 5


MARANA, Ariz. – The final day 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 semifinal- and final-round action. (Click for Scoring)

All times ET

5:48 p.m.: Hunter Mahan closed out Rory McIlroy on the 17th hole, winning 2 and 1.

5:32 p.m.: Hunter Mahan's championship-winning 16 footer for birdie at the 16th hole grazed the left edge of the cup but failed to drop. Mahan remains 2 up with two holes to play.

5:25 p.m.: Hunter Mahan and Rory McIlroy trade birdies at the 15th hole, and the American remains in control of the match. McIlroy is 5 under for his last five holes but still 2 down.

5:13 p.m.: Rory McIlroy has birdied his last two holes and cut Hunter Mahan's lead to 2 up heading into the drivable 15th hole.

5:02 p.m.: Hunter Mahan calmly rolled in a 5-foot birdie putt at the 13th hole to match Rory McIlroy and maintain a 3-up lead.

As they say in baseball, it's getting late early for McIlroy.

4:34 p.m.: Rory McIlroy gets one back on the par-5 11th, chipping in for eagle from in front of the green to cut Hunter Mahan's lead to 3 up.

4:24 p.m.: Things continue to go Hunter Mahan's way at Dove Mountain. The American almost holed his approach shot at the 10th hole and moved 4 up on Rory McIlroy, when the Ulsterman failed to convert his birdie from 15 feet.

4:12 p.m.: After a quiet start, Hunter Mahan has built a 3-up lead in the championship finale at Dove Mountain. Mahan matched McIlroy's par at the ninth to make the turn in control.

4:03 p.m.: The mistakes that Rory McIlroy largely avoided for four days have caught up with him at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. McIlroy lost the seventh hole after hitting his approach short and leaving his chip in a collection area. At the par-5 eighth, McIlroy hit his drive in a bunker, his third shot long and two-putted for bogey to fall 3 down.

3:46 p.m.: The start of Sunday's championship match was a little too eventful for Rory McIlroy's caddie J.P. Fitzgerald. As he walked down the first fairway, Fitzgerald was informed his shorts, which are white with blue stripes, did not conform to PGA Tour regulations, although they were the same shorts he wore during Sunday's semifinal match. 

A member of Camp Rory was dispatched to get a pair of conforming shorts, but officials relented and allowed him to keep caddying without a quick change.

3:31 p.m.: It took six holes, but we finally have some red on the championship match scoreboard. Hunter Mahan roped his tee shot to 1 1/2 feet, and Rory McIlroy conceded the birdie to fall 1 down.

3:23 p.m.: More of the same in Sunday's championship match, although both players looked steadier at the par-4 fifth hole. Rory McIlroy two-putted for a textbook par, and Hunter Mahan matched him to keep the match all square.

3:15 p.m.: After solid starts, both players look rattled at the fourth hole. Rory McIlroy's drive ends up under a bush in the desert. The Ulsterman scrambles for bogey, while Hunter Mahan also makes bogey but from the middle of the fairway with a wedge in his hand.

2:57 p.m.: The championship group is living up to its billing through three holes. Rory McIlroy and Hunter Mahan traded 5- and 4-foot birdie putts, respectively, at No. 3. The two have combined for four birdies today.

2:50 p.m.: Despite a tee shot that found the desert, Hunter Mahan matches Rory McIlroy at the second with a birdie to keep the match all square. Good news for McIlroy he did hole a 3 footer, about the same distance he missed from at No. 1.

2:32 p.m.: Chipping contest at the first hole with both players flying the green. Rory McIlroy misses a 4-footer for par, while Mahan hits a poor chip to 12 feet and makes bogey. All square.

2:20 p.m.: Not sure Hunter Mahan will have many nerves in his 18-hole finale against Rory McIlroy. He's playing for $1.3 million at Dove Mountain compared to the $11.2 million he played for at East Lake last fall (FedEx Cup and Tour Championship crown).

12:58 p.m.: It will be Rory McIlroy and Hunter Mahan in Sunday's 18-hole championship match.

McIlroy beat Lee Westwood, 2 and 1, to advance for a chance to play for the title and the top spot in the World Golf Ranking.

12:51 p.m.: Mark Wilson's 55 footer for birdie slipped past the cup at the 17th and Hunter Mahan two-putted from 39 feet for a 2-and-1 victory and a spot in Sunday afternoon's final.

The day's second semifinal between Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood is still on the course. The Ulsterman leads 2 up through 16 holes.

12:35 p.m.: Hunter Mahan bogeys the par-3 16th hole and Mark Wilson cuts his lead to 2 up to extend the match.

It's the first time since Friday a match has made it to the 17th hole.

12:27 p.m.: Dove Mountain’s 15th hole, 321 yards for today’s semifinals, played its part perfectly on Sunday.

Trailing by one hole, Mark Wilson gambled and hit driver into a bunker short of the green and made par while Hunter Mahan also hit driver just short of the green and made a relatively stress-free birdie to extend his lead to 2 up with three holes to play.

12:10 p.m.: Lee Westwood’s drive at the par-5 13th hole sails into the gallery left of the fairway and into the sweater of a spectator, which prompted a moment of levity when the Englishman’s caddie asked the woman, “Would you mind walking 250 yards forward?”

Unfortunately for Westwood he made par to lose the hole and drop to 3 down in his semifinal match against Rory McIlroy.

11:57 a.m.: Since playing his first five holes in 1 over, Rory McIlroy is 5 under over his last seven holes to move 2 up on Lee Westwood after 12 holes. In order he’s holed putts of 24 feet (No. 12), 2 feet (No. 11), 7 feet (No. 9), 14 feet (No. 8) and 28 feet (No. 6).

11:54 a.m.: Back-to-back birdies for Mark Wilson at Nos. 10 and 11 to keep pace with Hunter Mahan at Dove Mountain and remain 2 down, but par at the 12th is good for a win to cut the lead to 1 down. Go figure.

11:48 a.m.: Rory McIlroy ricochet his second shot at the par-5 11th hole through the desert and was fortunate to make birdie from right of the green to keep his 1-up lead on Lee Westwood.

On Saturday McIlroy said the key to his 3-and-2 victory over Sang-Moon Bae was his performance on the par 5s, which he played in 3 under for the match. The Ulsterman is 2 under on Dove Mountain’s par 5s on Sunday.

11:38 a.m.: Rory McIlroy has birdied three of his last five holes and moved 1 up on Lee Westwood after falling 3 down early in the match. The most McIlroy trailed all week before Sunday was one hole on Wednesday against George Coetzee, whom he beat, 2 up.

11:33 a.m.: A lot of talk about the World Golf Ranking implications if either Lee Westwood or Rory McIlroy win this week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play. Either player would overtake Luke Donald for the top spot with a victory, but it’s also worth noting that Hunter Mahan, who is 2 up on Mark Wilson through 11 holes in the semifinals, could move into the top 10 with a victory and Wilson would move into the top 15 if he were to claim his first WGC.

11:06 a.m.: Following Saturday’s blowouts Sunday’s semifinals are shaping up to be shootouts by comparison.

Hunter Mahan made the turn 2 up against Mark Wilson while Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy are all square following a birdie at the eighth by the Ulsterman. Saturday’s quarterfinals marked the first time in 14 years not a single match made it to the 18th green.

10:35 a.m.: Unlike most average golfers Hunter Mahan is not haunted by the shank at the fifth, going 2 up on Mark Wilson with a routine par at the seventh hole. In the anchor semifinal match, McIlroy wins his second consecutive hole, and makes his first birdie of the day, at the sixth and moves to 1 down against Lee Westwood.

10:30 a.m.: Lee Westwood lips out a 10-footer for par at the fifth hole to move to 2 up on Rory McIlroy. The Ulsterman had not trailed since the 11th hole on Wednesday but fell behind Westwood at the second and slipped further back with a bogey at the third hole.

10:10 a.m.: It’s not the first time a professional has hit a shank, but it may be the most high-profile occurrence considering Hunter Mahan’s reputation as one of the game’s preeminent ball-strikers.

From the middle of the fifth fairway with a 2-up lead over Mark Wilson, Mahan’s approach shot from 131 yards darted 60 degrees to the right and onto the sixth tee box. He failed to get up and down for par and lost the hole.

9:58 a.m.: Hunter Mahan goes 2 up on Mark Wilson with a birdie at the fourth hole. The two have not halved a hole yet, with Mahan winning Nos. 1, 2 and 3 but dropping the third with a bogey.

9:50 a.m.: Lee Westwood birdies the second to go 1 up against Rory McIlroy. For the second consecutive year the world’s No. 1 ranking comes down to the semifinal match at Dove Mountain.

Last year Martin Kaymer needed only to advance to the final to take the top spot, while Westwood and McIlroy need to win this week to unseat Luke Donald. But before they can think about that they need to survive this morning’s semifinal.

9:34 a.m.: Eventful first hole for both semifinal matches. Hunter Mahan went 1 up when Mark Wilson opened with a bogey and Lee Westwood missed a 12-footer to trade pars with Rory McIlroy.

9:25 a.m.: Tough to question the new format at the WGC-Match Play, but today's semifinal match between Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood could be the week's most compelling bout yet there are no more than 50 fans waiting along the first fairway to watch the action.

In past years the quarterfinals and semifinals were played on Saturday, leaving the finale for Sunday.

9:05 a.m.: Today’s two semifinal matches may be too close to call, but for betting purposes GTC may have an advantage.

At a local grill not far from Dove Mountain GTC spotted Mark Wilson and his caddie having dinner Saturday. After the two left, Lee Westwood and his entourage were seated at the same booth. Tough to ignore an omen like that.

Rory McIlroy, however, receives style points for his dining choice. The Ulsterman went to Lil Abner’s Steakhouse, a Tucson landmark and one of the best BBQ stops on the PGA Tour.

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