Watney bounces Woods from WGC Match Play
Marana (Arizona): Putting woes doomed Tiger Woods`s World Golf Championships Match Play Championship Thursday as Nick Watney bounced the former world number one in the second round.
Watney dismissed Woods 1-up in the Arizona desert, meaning three-time champion Woods hasn`t moved past round two since 2008.
Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer all advanced comfortably on a day where only three of 16 matches went against the seedings.
Woods almost came back from 2 down with three to play to force extra holes, but couldn`t make a five-footer on the 18th to extend the match.
It was one of half a dozen short misses for the 14-time major champion, who was unhappy with the greens at the Dove Mountain course.
"They are grainy, there`s no doubt," he said. "I`ve asked some of the guys this week, are you struggling, and they said, yeah, they`re hard to read.”
"Sometimes the grain takes it, but sometimes you`ve got to factor in the valley, as well. They`re tricky and they`re very difficult to read."
Woods also admitted his technique with the flat-stick also needed work.
"I was fighting the blocks all day with my putter," he said. "The putter was going back a little bit shut and subsequently I let it go and it goes left and I block it right."
Despite witnessing Woods`s troubles, Watney admitted he was "in shock" that the match didn`t go to extra holes.
"I`m very happy to move on and I feel a bit fortunate as well," he said. "We don`t see him miss putts like that very often, and there were a few of them."
Northern Ireland`s McIlroy never trailed on the way to a 3 and 2 win over Denmark`s Anders Hansen, leaving his chances at ascending to world number one alive as he set up a third-round tie against Spain`s Miguel Angel Jimenez.
"We both didn`t have our best stuff with us," McIlroy said. "I needed to grind out a few pars and I won a few holes with pars so I`m just happy to be through to the third round."
McIlroy admitted the prospect of rising to the top of the rankings with a victory this week was on his mind.
"Everyone keeps telling me, so it`s hard to put it out of my mind," he said. "It`s a little bit of extra motivation this week knowing that if I can get through four more matches, I could go to the top of the world rankings which is obviously a huge moment for my career."
Westwood destroyed Swede Robert Karlsson over the first 10 holes to lead 5 up and despite a few hiccups coming in the Englishman held on for a 3 and 2 win.
"I`ve played great over the first couple of days," Westwood said. "I`ve been solid, come out quick, made a lot of birdies early on and not really give each of the opponents too much of a chance."
The three upsets of the day belonged to Australian John Senden, South Korean Bae Sang-Moon and Jimenez.
Senden, ranked 41st, hammered fellow Australian and world No. 7 Jason Day 6 and 5. Bae ranked 44 in the world, took down Masters champion and world No. 11 Charl Schwartzel of South Africa 1 up.
Jimenez, ranked 52nd, surprised America`s Keegan Bradley 2 and 1.
Scottish pair Paul Lawrie and Martin Laird eliminated young guns Ryo Ishikawa (1 up) and Matteo Manassero (2 and 1) to set up a third round duel.
Steve Stricker celebrated his 45th birthday with a 1 up win over South African Louis Oosthuizen while fellow American Dustin Johnson provided the biggest hiding of the day by belting Italy`s Francesco Molinari 7 and 5.
First day hero Ernie Els, who eliminated world number one Luke Donald on Wednesday, couldn`t maintain his form and was given a 5 and 4 lesson from Swede Peter Hanson.
World number four Kaymer of Germany continued on with a solid 2 up win over American veteran David Toms.