Fowler continues Match Play run, faces Furyk in QF

Third Round Results – World Golf Championships – Accenture Match Play Championship – Dove Mountain Golf Club – Marana, Arizona –

Three Americans, two South Africans, a Northern Irishman, a Frenchman and an Aussie advanced Friday through the third round into the Quarter-Finals.

The World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship provided a day of comebacks and drama at Dove Mountain Golf Club in Arizona.

The highlights included another comeback – his third this week – by Graeme McDowell. G-Mac, trailing Hunter Mahan 2-Down with two to play, rallied to win the match in 21 holes. Mahan was trying to reach the finals for third straight year.

G-Mac advanced to meet France’s Victor Dubuisson to settle the Sam Snead Bracket Saturday at 12 p.m. local time. Dubuisson knocked out Riviera winner Bubba Watson Friday 1-Up. He was 3-UP through 14 holes in the match.

Dubuisson, 30th in the official World Golf Ranking, is the most unknown player in the Quarter-Finals. He won the Turkish Airlines Open in November in field featuring Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods and Justin Rose. He made just 13 of 21 cuts on the European Tour last year, but finished 6th in the Race To Dubai standings.

In a classic match of youth versus experience, 20-year-old Jordan Spieth clashes with World Golf Hall of Famer Ernie Els. Ranked 13th in the world, Spieth comes off his biggest victory against defending match play champion Matt Kuchar 2&1. Els has comeback and magical victories against Stephen Gallacher, Justin Rose and Jason Dufner, who he beat by winning the 18th hole 1-UP.

The All-American final in the Ben Hogan Bracket pits former U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk against Rickie Fowler, who has the most impressive list of wins this week including Ian Poulter, Jimmy Walker and Sergio Garcia. He edged Garcia 1-UP in round three by winning No. 16 and No. 18 in the match.

Fowler is the highest-ranked player remaining at No. 56 in the world. he entered this week with three straight missed cuts. Day is the best-ranked player remaining at No. 11 and is now on the hot seat to advance.

The first match Saturday in the Quarter-Finals Saturday at 10:05 a.m. features Australia’s Jason Day against South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen. Day is the overall betting favorite still remaining at 9-to-1 odds, according to Las Vegas-based Station Casinos, to start the week. Day lost last year in the Semi-Finals to Kuchar.

Since winning in the opening round 1-UP against Nick Watney, Oosthuizen breezed through Stenson 4&3 and Webb Simpson 5&4.

The former Open champion won earlier this year in January at the Volvo Golf Champions. He could be the player to beat.

Golf Channel has the early coverage followed by CBS Sports on Saturday. Sunday features the Semi-Final round before a break and then the Championship and Consolation matches.

Other Golf News:

  • Anna Nordqvist (6-under overall) continues to lead the Honda LPGA Thailand. Some 22 players are within five shots of the lead. Nordqvist leads Sandra Gal, Julieta Granada and Azahara Munoz by a shot.
  • Garcia conceded a 17-foot putt to Fowler at No. 7 during their match. The hole was halved. Garcia ended up losing 1-Down. The Spaniard later said he felt he was taking too much time take a drop on the hole and felt compelled to concede his opponent’s longer par putt.
  • Four major champions remain out of the eight players still standing in match play including Oosthuizen, Furyk, Els and McDowell. There is still a chance all four could meet in the Semi-Finals Sunday morning.
  • Padraig Harrington, a three-time major champion, began treatment for skin cancer. 
  • The PGA Tour hosts the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida next week. Michael Thompson is the defending champion at PGA National.