Watson def. Blixt 2 up in WGC Match Play
Thursday, February 20, 2014
PHOTOS: WGC-Accenture Match Play, Rd. 2
See the action and emotion (and some desert scenery) from Thursday's second round of the PGA Tour's 2014 WGC-Accenture Match Play at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz.
No. 3 Sam Snead bracket seed Bubba Watson gets a jump on No. 11 Jonas Blixt with three straight birdies before Blixt battles back to narrow his deficit, but a win at the 18th clinches victory for Watson in the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play.
We'll keep you posted on the highlights of the Watson vs. Blixt match right here – and scroll down for our preview coverage.
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Hole No. 18: Par 4, 480 yards
Watson finds the fairway and the back of the green, while Blixt encounters a bad lie and his second shot finds trouble – all but ending his chances of completing a huge comeback. After a last-gasp effort, Blixt concedes the hole and the match to Watson.
WATSON WINS, 2 UP
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Hole No. 17: Par 4, 482 yards
Watson makes par here, but Blixt has a makeable birdie try to stay alive – it finds the left side and falls. They'll head to the 18th, with Blixt surely feeling a little momentum.
THRU 17 HOLES: Watson, 1 up
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Hole No. 15: Par 4, 343 yards
Watson birdies to put the pressure on a birdie try of about 12 feet or so from Blixt – it lips out 270 degrees off the right edge and Watson's lead is back to two, with three to play.
THRU 15 HOLES: Watson, 2 up
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Hole No. 14: Par 4, 449 yards
Watson can't manage bogey and concedes this hole to the Swede, narrowing his lead to a one-hole margin for the first time since the second tee.
THRU 14 HOLES: Watson, 1 up
[Note: Earlier updates contained errors.]
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Hole No. 12: Par 3, 219 yards
The long string of halves ends with Blixt's first win of the day as Watson bogeys. Blixt had a comeback win yesterday in his back-nine upset of Keegan Bradley, though he never trailed by more than one.
THRU 12 HOLES: Watson, 2 up
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Hole No. 11: Par 5, 659 yards
After trading birdies at the eighth, Watson and Blixt again trade pars for three straight holes. Watson is consistently scoring to keep Blixt at bay – chewing up ground and maintaining a three-hole advantage with seven to play.
THRU 11 HOLES: Watson, 3 up
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Hole No. 7: Par 4, 486 yards
Three times in a row, Watson and Blixt trade pars as this match's status remains the same – though Watson lips out a birdie try here that could have made the Swede's deficit that much tough to climb out of.
THRU SEVEN HOLES: Watson, 3 up
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Hole No. 4: Par 4, 393 yards
Watson's birdie run ends here, but he wins another hole as Blixt bogeys. Watson's "Bubba golf" approach doesn't exactly make him a fairway-green par machine, but a three-hole lead might be tough for Blixt to counter. We'll see.
THRU FOUR HOLES: Watson, 3 up
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Hole No. 3: Par 3, 208 yards
After both players trade birdies to halve the second, Watson cards his third straight birdie and Blixt can't match. Watson, the 2012 Masters champion and winner of last week's Northern Trust Open going away, has a quick 2-up margin.
THRU THREE HOLES: Watson, 2 up
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Hole No. 1: Par 4, 460 yards
Watson keeps his mojo going with a birdie at the first to get a 1-up lead out of the gate. These two are separated by 90 spots in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings despite each having a PGA Tour victory in the last seven months.
PHOTOS: WGC Match Play 2014
Check out photos from the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz.
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- OWGR Rank: 14
- Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: 8
- 2014 PGA Tour results: T-31, CIMB Classic; T-8, WGC-HSBC Champions; T-23, Farmers Insurance Open; T-2, Waste Management Phoenix Open; Won, Northern Trust Open
- Match Play results (since 2009): T-9 (2013); T-17 (2012); 4th (2011)
- Comments: It's rare for a player to win in consecutive weeks, but Watson is a creative bomber and is a birdie machine. Is he getting hot at the right time? His first win since 2012 verifies that. Watson advanced with a 2 & 1 win over Mikko Ilonen in the first round.
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- OWGR Rank: 46
- Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: 98
- 2014 PGA Tour results: T-51, Frys.com Open; T-25, CIMB Classic; T-63, HSBC Champions; T-21, Hyundai Tournament of Champions; MC, Humana Challenge; MC, Farmers Insurance Open; T-34, Waste Management Phoenix Open
- Match Play results (since 2009): None
- Comments: Blixt doesn't hit a ton of greens or fairways, but he's got the short game to make things interesting in Match Play. Blixt defeated Keegan Bradley 2 and 1 in a first-round upset.
PHOTOS: WGC-Accenture Match Play, Tuesday practice
See the action -- and interactions -- of Tuesday practice for the PGA Tour's 2014 WGC-Accenture Match Play as well as some desert scenery at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz.
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Wednesday's first-round coverage
There are no guarantees in golf, if we hadn’t known that before. Nothing is certain, particularly in 18-hole match play, even when you are 3 down with three holes left and your opponent sends an approach shot toward the pin. That was Graeme McDowell’s predicament in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play.
Thirty-two matches, 64 players, nearly 10 hours of golf – and dozens of reasons why it's the best day of the year for pure PGA Tour fun, non-major category. But with so much going on, no time to waste. Here are 5 Things to know from Day 1 of the Accenture Match Play Championship.
And for your morning breakfast, the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship served up a trio of surprises. Rickie Fowler beating Ian Poulter and Jonas Blixt eliminating Keegan Bradley? No argument there. But Bubba Watson ousting Mikko Ilonen? A surprise? If you go by stature in the game, resumes and seedings – Watson was 11th, Ilonen 54th – it surely wasn’t, but the way things turned in the American’s favor certainly was.
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Match Play preview coverage
The Golf Club at Dove Mountain is certainly fun to watch from home. And with match play, just about anything can happen, especially on this dramatic, rugged Jack Nicklaus-designed course in the foothills of the Tortolita Mountain Range just north of Tucson, Ariz. See photos and a strategic description of all 18 holes.
The field is stacked and this is truly the "anything-can-happen" tournament of the year, as match play seems to even the playing field in golf. With Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott taking the WGC-Accenture Match Play off, a bit of intrigue might be lost, but the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter should provide some drama worth watching.
Rory McIlroy tops the list of odds to win this week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, with Dustin Johnson and Jason Day not far behind. McIlroy is listed at 12/1 to win the tournament, with Johnson and Day at 15/1.