All-American Final at La Costa


2005 WGC Accenture Match PlayCARLSBAD, Calif. -- It will be an All-American final Sunday at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at La Costa Resort & Spa.
David Toms, who won the Sam Snead bracket, defeated Ian Poulter, the 11th seed who came out of the Gary Player bracket, 3 and 2, in one semifinal match on Saturday. Toms' play around the turn was brilliant with a tap-in birdie, a hole-out eagle and a 5-wood inside 2 feet for a conceded eagle.
David Toms
This is the second time in three years that David Toms has reached the 36-hole final.
Toms will face Chris DiMarco, the representative of the Bobby Jones bracket, who dispatched the lone remaining No. 1 seed, Retief Goosen, 2 and 1. DiMarco benefited from a poor decision by Goosen on eight and chipped in for birdie on the 14th for the second time on Saturday.
This is the fourth consecutive year that it will be an All-American final. Kevin Sutherland defeated Scott McCarron in 2002, while Tiger Woods beat Toms in 2003, and Davis Love III in last year's championship.
The finalists took very different paths to Sunday's 36-hole championship.
Toms, the 2001 PGA Champion, fell 1-down after a bogey at seven, but squared the match at the par-5 eighth. Poulter knocked his third over the green, then chipped 8 feet past the hole. He missed the par putt to leave the pair even heading to nine.
The ninth, which was shortened to a par-3 the first two days because of damage from rain, played as a par 4 on Saturday. Toms, not one of the longer hitters on tour, used a utility club for his second and stiffed it four feet from the hole. He converted the birdie try to go 1-up and kick off an amazing run of golf.
At the 10th, Poulter already played his second when Toms hit his wedge approach over the hole. The ball spun back into the cup for eagle and a 2-up lead.
The par-5 11th afforded Toms another chance to show off his shot-making. Poulter hit a spectacular second shot 18 feet from the hole, but Toms knocked a 5-wood inside 2 feet and was conceded the eagle. Poulter missed his opportunity for a halve and suddenly found himself 3-down after two eagles and a tap-in birdie from his opponent.
'That was a pretty special shot I hit on 10,' admitted Toms, a product of LSU. 'Then to back it up after he hit a great shot at 11 with a gimme, that was pretty special. It was perfect.'
Poulter finally got a win at the par-3 12th when he sank a 20-foot birdie putt. The duo halved the next three holes, then Toms hit a 6-iron 8 feet past the flag at 16. Poulter missed a 30-footer and Toms rolled his birdie putt in to earn a berth in the final for the second time in three years.
'Other than the putter today, everything else felt great,' said Toms. 'I missed a couple of fairways, which I haven't done all week, but the game feels really good right now. I'm excited for tomorrow.'
He will face his Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teammate, DiMarco on Sunday.
It looked more like Goosen, the two-time U.S. Open champion, would be in the final after the first three holes. DiMarco missed a 5-foot birdie putt at the third that would have halved the hole, so instead, he found himself 3-down after three.
'I was just trying to tie a hole after that,' said DiMarco. 'I was like, 'lets try not to lose 8 and 7 today.''
But DiMarco hung in and at the fifth, he converted a 6-foot par putt to halve the hole. Goosen hit a terrible 6-iron at the seventh, and DiMarco drained a 5-footer to win the hole and cut the gap to 2-down.
Things definitely started going DiMarco's way at the par-5 eighth. Goosen drove into a tree and after an exhausting search that featured his caddie climbing the tree shaking branches, a ball fell out. It was not Goosen's, but the South African elected to concede the hole.
If Goosen would have taken a drop, he could have still gotten up and down for par. He did not make DiMarco take another shot and now Goosen's lead was only 1-up.
'You never know what's going to happen there. I definitely wouldn't have said, 'lets go,'' admitted DiMarco, who had not trailed in a match until the semifinal. 'It was a key thing. It's a par 5 and probably his advantage. For me to walk off 1-down there was big.'
DiMarco played outstanding on the back nine. The two halved the 10th with birdies, then DiMarco tied the match with a 4-footer for birdie at 11. He took the lead with a 22-foot birdie putt at 13 and went 2-up at the 14th.
During his quarterfinal match with Stewart Cink Saturday morning, DiMarco missed the green at 14 and chipped in for birdie. The semifinal saw the same thing happen as DiMarco chipped in for birdie and the hole.
Goosen would not go away quietly. He birdied the par-5 15th to cut the deficit to 1-down. The pair halved the 16th and Goosen looked to be in control at 17. He had 25 feet to win the hole, but missed left. DiMarco was short of the green in three and chipped seven feet short of the hole. He made the putt and Goosen needed to tap in his short save to go to 18. Goosen's putt lipped out and DiMarco will now have 36 holes against a friend and former SEC rival for his biggest win on tour.
'David is a great player,' said DiMarco, a graduate of the University of Florida. 'It's going to be fun tomorrow. We're both going to want to win tomorrow. Going around 36 holes with one of your good friends is going to be fun.'
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