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Ryan Moore at WGC-Accenture Match Play, 3rd Rd.

Post by Todd Milles / The News Tribune on Feb. 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm with No Comments »
February 25, 2011 4:05 pm

This week: WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, Wednesday through Sunday, Ritz-Carlton Golf Course at Dove Mountain, Marana, Ariz.

Third-round match: The 12th-seeded Moore defeated No. 8 seed Nick Watney in 19 holes in the Bobby Jones bracket.

Recap: Picked against by virtually every national pundit, the 2004 U.S. Amateur champion from Puyallup erased an early 2-down deficit, lost a 2-up advantage on the final two holes of regulation but prevailed when he sank an 11-foot birdie putt on the 19th hole to take down Watney, his playing partner for the first two rounds of the 2010 Masters.

And it was a bit of redemption on that hole, too – the par-4 first – as he had lost it the past two rounds, including to his round-of-16 opponent earlier Friday when Watney opened the match with a birdie.

On that extra hole, Moore’s drive went left into the rough, but his 9-iron approach from 153 yards landed pin-high on the left side of the cup. Meanwhile Watney’s wedge approach from 112 yards went deep.

Watney rolled his 22-foot putt short, but to tap-in range, and Moore’s match-clinching putt broke slightly right and went in dead-center.

Moore is now the lowest seed still remaining in the field.

“I enjoy match a lot,” he said afterward. “My amateur record kind of says so.”

What was spot-on Friday for Moore was his putting, especially from longer distances. He broke a back-nine deadlock when he canned a 38-footer for eagle on the drivable par-4 15th to take a 1-up lead.

A hole later, the 246-yard par 3, Watney left his chip shot short in the fringe, and Moore lagged a 20-foot birdie putt over a sharp ledge to tap-in distance to go 2 up.

But Watney hit his second shots on the 17th and 18th holes to within 10 feet, and made a 5-footer for birdie on the final hole to extend the match.

Watney birdied the first two holes to take a quick 2-up advantage, but Moore pulled even on the sixth hole when he rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt – and took his first lead three holes later when he made an 18-footer for another birdie.

“It’s crazy. It was a tough match all day,” Moore said. “I knew I would have to throw some birdies at him.”

Next: Moore will play No. 3 seed Luke Donald, of England, in this morning’s quarterfinals. The victor will meet the Matt Kuchar-Y.E. Yang winner in one afternoon semifinal match

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