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Archive for Saturday, February 28, 2009

McIlroy eliminates Clark

February 28, 2009

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— Teenage sensation Rory McIlroy did his part to put some excitement back into the Accenture Match Play Championship, advancing to the quarterfinals by crushing the player who knocked out Tiger Woods.

The same could not be said for Phil Mickelson, who failed to reach the weekend for the fifth straight year.

McIlroy, the 19-year-old from Northern Ireland who keeps adding credentials to be the next young star, built a 4-up lead after six holes and never gave Tim Clark of South Africa a chance to catch up in a 4-and-3 victory Friday.

He is three matches away from becoming the youngest winner in the history of American professional golf.

Mickelson had not trailed all week until Stewart Cink ran off three straight birdies to build a 3-up lead after four holes. Mickelson rallied to square the match twice, and both times let it get away.

Lefty hit his tee shot into a desert bush on the 15th hole and fell behind, then tied it on the 16th when Cink missed the green. But on the next hole, Mickelson’s third shot from a desert waste area sailed over the gallery, and he missed a 4-foot bogey putt to lose the hole. His last chance was a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole, which missed below the cup.

Ernie Els, in the quarterfinals for only the second time, had a 1-up lead on the 18th tee when Luke Donald felt a twinge in his left wrist and decided to concede the match instead of risking further injury.

In other matches:

• Geoff Ogilvy took advantage of shaky putting by Camilo Villegas for a 2-and-1 victory, raising his career record to 14-2.

• Paul Casey of England built a quick lead and beat Peter Hanson of Sweden, 3 and 2. Casey joined Els as the only players remaining who have not been behind all week.

• Ross Fisher of England made seven birdies in beating Jim Furyk, 4 and 3.

• Sean O’Hair lost the first two holes, then won three straight holes on the back nine to beat Ian Poulter, 2 and 1.

• Justin Leonard chipped in for birdie on the 17th hole, then watched Oliver Wilson of England roll in a 6-foot birdie putt on the 18th. Leonard won with a par on the first extra hole.

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