Round three of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship did not disappoint the fans who made the trek to The Golf Club at Dove Mountain.
Four of the eight matches went to the eighteenth hole, and Graeme McDowell defeated Hunter Mahan in 21 holes. Jordan Spieth needed nine birdies to defeat Matt Kuchar 2&1, and Jason Day birdied six holes to win his match against George Coetzee 3&1. Perhaps, the only player with an easy match was Louis Oosthuizen, who was six-under through 14, and defeated Webb Simpson 5&4.
McDowell has not led at any point in his three matches until the final hole:
Of course I’m putting intensity and focus into what I’m doing. But you don’t expect to do things ‑‑ you don’t expect to win any of those ‑‑ you might win one of those three matches, you don’t win all three of them. It just doesn’t happen.
McDowell made key putts on 17 and 18 to square his match against Mahan, and go to extra holes. On the second playoff hole, McDowell dropped a 19-footer to save par and extend the match. On the third playoff hole, he made his 14-foot birdie putt to win.
Bubba Watson battled Victor Dubuisson to the final hole after being 3-down with four to play. Dubuisson outlasted Watson to become the first Frenchman to advance to the quarterfinals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. He will face McDowell tomorrow in the quarters.
Rickie Fowler was 3-down through eight holes against Sergio Garcia, but got the putter going, and made five birdies over the final ten holes to win 1-up. Fowler closed out Garcia with a wedge shot to four-feet on 18.
On the seventh hole of the match, Sergio and Fowler went good-good. Fowler had an 18-footer for par and Sergio had a 6-footer for par. Sergio recommended the move to Fowler, and said:
I don’t regret it at all. He played much better than me on the last ten holes and he deserves a win.
This is a gentleman’s game, and lately it hasn’t felt like it’s been like that. This is the way I was brought up by my dad, you know, playing golf.
I felt like my drop on six took too much time. And then I was playing as hard as I could to try and beat him. I made a birdie on eight and got to 3‑up. Then he got going and I wasn’t able to keep up.
Sergio took a drop on six because of a group of bees close to his ball. He felt the drop took too much time, and may have caused Fowler to lose focus, and miss his birdie putt.
Jim Furyk was 3-down through six holes against Harris English, but played stellar golf over the final 12 holes to nip English by one. Furyk’s chip-in on 16 was the difference maker. He will play Fowler in the quarters.
Jordan Spieth dropped nine birdies on Matt Kuchar, but sprinkled in a few bogies to keep the door open until the 17th hole. Spieth’s final birdie on 17 led to a 2&1 victory.
Ernie Els hit a wedge shot to 2 ½ feet on 18 to beat Jason Dufner 1-up:
The shot on 18 was a perfect yardage for me. I had that same yardage on 17 the first day, so I was quite comfortable playing that club. And it worked out [perfectly].
Els and Spieth will square-off in the quarters.
Louis Oosthuizen shot six-under to defeat Webb Simpson 5&4. Oosthuizen is pleased with the state of his game:
I’ve been striking it well the whole year, and I’m playing some of the best now. I feel I’m hitting the ball really [well], and just need to make the putts.
Jason Day defeated George Coetzee 3&1, and spoke match play strategy after the round,
I always like to show that, you know, especially off the tee, I’m always walking in front. It’s very rare that I see the other guy in front of me. Just to tell him that I’m there, I’m sticking around.
There [were] a couple of short ones that I made George putt in today, but there was a little bit of respect there, too.
Day plays Ooosthuizen in the quarters.
Quarterfinals TV coverage: 12-2 pm ET on the Golf Channel. 2-6 pm ET on CBS