One day after Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods – the best two players in the world – were sent home from the Match Play Championship, more top seeds followed Friday when golf’s most unpredictable tournament served up some more upsets.
Luke Donald, the No. 3 seed and regarded among the best in match play, suffered his worst loss in 25 matches at this tournament. And Louis Oosthuizen (No. 4) and Justin Rose (No. 5) never even reached the 17th tee.
When the day ended at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz., Masters champion Bubba Watson was the last top 10 seed standing.
“This game … it’s a toss-up,” Watson said after going 22 holes to beat Jim Furyk. “You can’t really judge who’s going to win, or bet who’s going to win. It really means nothing, is what I’m saying.”
At least he’s still playing, even though he made it hard on himself.
Watson missed a 5-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole that would have won the match. He missed another 5-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole. He had to stand to the side of the green as Furyk stood over a 12-foot putt to win the match. Given new life, Watson finally advanced to the third round.
It was the first time since this World Golf Championship began in 1999 that only one top-10 seed was left after two rounds.
Donald, who birdied his last two holes Thursday to win his opening match, didn’t know what hit him.
Scott Piercy won the first three holes, and if that wasn’t enough, he hit a 4-iron into the cup for eagle on the fifth hole and was on his way to a 7-and-6 win.
Robert Garrigus never trailed against Oosthuizen — Garrigus hasn’t trailed at all this week — and sounded as though he had penciled himself into the final.
“I looked at all the guys in my bracket and I was like, ‘I can beat him. I can beat him. And I can beat him.’ If I’m playing well and putting well, I’m going to be hard to beat,” he said.
Shane Lowry earned a footnote in history at this 15-year-old tournament. After knocking out McIlroy on the 18th hole of the first round, the burly Irishman became the first No. 64 seed to advance to the third round. This wasn’t that difficult, as he seized control early and beat Carl Pettersson, 6 and 5.
The other giant killer, Charles Howell III, wasn’t so fortunate. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who had to finish his 1-up win over Francesco Molinari in the morning, never lost a hole in a 6-and-5 win. Howell, one day after beating Woods, didn’t make a single birdie.
PUTNAMS HIT AND MISS
At the Web.com Tour’s Panama Claro Championship, South Korean Dae-Hyun Kim shot a 2-under 38 for a two-round total of 7-under 133 and a two-shot lead at Panama Golf Club in Panama City. University Place’s Andrew Putnam made the cut, shooting an even-par 70 to sit at 1-over 141. Brother Michael Putnam (71-72) missed the cut, as did former University of Washington golfer Alex Prugh (70-73).
LEWIS RETAINS LEAD
Stacy Lewis shot a 3-under 69 to keep her three-stroke lead after the second round of the LPGA Thailand in Chonburi. Lewis had five birdies and two bogeys for a 12-under 132 total to lead Thai teenager Ariya Jutanugarn (66).