ANTALYA, Turkey — The highly anticipated showdown between Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods will have to wait for one more day, as Mother Nature got in the way on Wednesday afternoon in Turkey.
After McIlroy lost his morning match to Charl Schwartzel and Tiger Woods blitzed Matt Kuchar to even his record at 1-1, the skies opened up and postponed the finish of the round-robin portion of the match-play tournament to Thursday morning.
Here are 5 Things to take away from Day 2 at the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final:
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1. NOT EXACTLY HOW THEY DREW IT UP
The second round of the Turkish Airlines World Golf Finals is in the books and World No. 1 Rory McIlroy is on the outside looking in after a second consecutive defeat – this one at the hands of South African Charl Schwartzel.
Schwartzel by his own admission has had a dismal 2012 season, but was steady again on Wednesday, firing a 1-under 70, his second consecutive round under par and won it by making three birdies over the last four holes, including a 12-footer after McIlroy had chipped in for birdie on the last.
“I said to my brother, first of all, he’s going to chip it in because he hasn’t made a putt all day, he’s going to chip it in. And sure enough, he chips it in,” Schwartzel said. “From my side it’s great to make a putt at that stage on top of him just chipping in. That’s a lot of confidence I can take from that.”
For McIlroy the pain of losing his second match in a row was evident.
“It was actually a different match,” McIlroy said of Wednesday loss by one shot. “I felt like I played a bit better today, still a couple of loose shots. Had plenty of chances, but just didn’t hole much.”
With Schwartzel playing Matt Kuchar to go undefeated in the preliminary rounds, McIlroy will be playing the role of spoiler with Tiger Woods on Thursday morning.
“I’ll try and keep him out of the semi-finals,” McIlroy joked. “I’m sure that’s not what the tournament wants, but that’s what I’m going to try an do.”
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2. WOODS STORMS BACK ON DAY 2
Tiger Woods lost a match on Tuesday to the only player that could have beaten him. Woods shot a 1-under 70 and would have tied or beaten everyone else other than his first-round opponent, Schwartzel.
Woods made sure not to repeat that mistake and shot a 4-under 67 to defeat Ryder Cup teammate Matt Kuchar by five shots with Kuchar shooting a 1-over 72.
“It felt good,” Woods said of his eight-birdie performance. “The start wasn’t very good, though. I doubled two and bogeyed four, but after that I hit it pretty good.”
At 1-1, Woods needs to win his postponed third-round match with McIlroy on Thursday to assure himself a place in the semifinals.
“The whole idea is to win,” Woods said when asked about McIlroy’s dilemma of losing the first two matches. “You know, Rory certainly doesn’t want to lose to me and I don’t want to lose to him. So we’re going to go out there and give our best.”
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3. STILL A BLOOM
Justin Rose continues to play well as the glow of the Ryder Cup seems to still burn bright for the Englishman.
Rose had little trouble dispatching fellow Ryder Cupper Lee Westwood shooting a 5-under 66 and beating Westwood by three shots.
It seems as part of his arsenal, Rose is adding the long putt on the 17th hole as a trademark.
“Yeah, those are good to me, those par‑3 17ths,” Rose said after making a 16-footer from the fringe for birdie. “I had the upper hand in the game at that point, but Lee hit a nice shot in there, knocked the flag out and had 8 feet to get within one should I not make my putt. I sort of jammed it in there maybe a little bit more aggressively than I had planned, but I was still trying to be positive at that point in the game.”
Rose will face Webb Simpson on Thursday morning to go undefeated in the preliminary matches.
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4. CAN”T YOU GIVE A COWBOY A BREAK
Hunter Mahan has won twice on the PGA Tour in 2012, once in the Accenture WGC-Match Play and then a little over a month after at the Shell Houston Open. That was the pinnacle of his year, now the former Oklahoma State star is sputtering, losing his second consecutive match after shooting a 4-under 67 to Webb Simpson’s 65.
For Simpson it was a little vindication after mis-clubing on the 18th hole to lose by a shot to Lee Westwood on Tuesday.
For Mahan it’s just how the second half of the season has gone.
“I just keep trying to do what I’m trying to do and just hopefully play better somehow,” Mahan said after his defeat to Justin Rose on Tuesday. “I don’t know how, but just keep swinging, I guess, and I’ve just got to find a way to make some putts.”
Mahan squared Wednesday’s match on the 17th with a birdie, but then made a bogey on the last to Simpson’s birdie that sealed the deal.
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5. WEATHER ISSUES
After the morning matches were concluded on Wednesday, a torrential rainstorm forced the postponement of the third-round matches that were scheduled for Wednesday afternoon and moved to Thursday morning. The change will not affect the tournament greatly with the semifinals moved to Thursday afternoon and the finals to go on as scheduled Friday morning.