MARANA, Ariz. — Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods now have plenty of company — somewhere other than the Match Play Championship.
One day after the best two players in the world went home, more top seeds followed Friday when golf’s most unpredictable tournament served up another reminder that the only time the word “upset” should be used is to describe the guys who are no longer playing.
Luke Donald, the No. 3 seed who is regarded among the best in match play, suffered his worst loss in 25 matches at this tournament. Louis Oosthuizen (No. 4) and Justin Rose (No. 5) never even reached the 17th tee when it was time for them to leave.
When another wild day ended at Dove Mountain, Masters champion Bubba Watson was the last man standing among the top 10 seeds.
“This game … it’s a toss-up,” Watson said after going 22 holes to beat Jim Furyk. “You can’t really judge who’s going to win, or bet who’s going to win. It really means nothing, is what I’m saying.”
At least he’s still playing, even though he made it hard on himself.
Watson missed a 5-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole that would have won the match. He missed another 5-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole. He had to stand to the side of the green as Furyk stood over a 12-foot putt to win the match. Given new life, Watson finally advanced to the third round.
It was the first time since this World Golf Championship began in 1999 that only one top-10 seed was remaining after two rounds.
“I think we’re beyond surprises, in this event especially,” Graeme McDowell said after needing 20 holes to beat Alex Noren. “Anybody can have a great day and anybody can have a tough day. It’s what makes the game exciting, and it’s what makes this game extremely fickle and extremely frustrating.”
“Yeah, it’s fun when you’re sitting in a car coming back from a second playoff hole having won,” McDowell said. “I drove past Alex Noren in the car park and he’s dragging his flight bag to the locker room. And he’s not having fun.”
Donald, who birdied his last two holes Thursday to win his opening match, didn’t know what hit him.
Scott Piercy won the first three holes, and if that wasn’t enough, he hit a 4-iron into the cup for eagle on the fifth hole and was on his way to a 7-and-6 win, a margin known as a “dog license” in Britain. Back in the day, it used to cost 7 schillings and six pence.
Donald felt like a wounded pup.
“Losing (stinks) and it’s very disappointing,” Donald said. “But I would have liked to have given him a bit better of a match.”
Piercy is having a blast in his first match play since he won $2 million in Las Vegas for something called “The Ultimate Challenge,” which was two days of match play and two days of stroke play.
All he can get from this event is $1.5 million, and he still has to win four more times, starting with Steve Stricker on Saturday.
Robert Garrigus never trailed against Oosthuizen — Garrigus hasn’t trailed at all this week — and sounded as though he had penciled himself into the final.
He’ll find out this morning against Jason Day, who overcame a clutch putt on the 18th hole to beat PGA Tour rookie Russell Henley on the 19th.
In other matches:
c Defending champion Hunter Mahan had an easy time with Richard Sterne to win his eighth straight match, and next faces the last player to beat him in this event — Martin Kaymer, who defeated Rafael Cabrera Bello of Spain.
c U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson made a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to beat Peter Hanson.
c Steve Stricker came out of retirement and knocked out Nick Watney on the 21st hole. It was the first time Watney has failed to reach the third round in this tournament, though it wasn’t from a lack of effort. He birdied four of the last six holes to force overtime, scrambled for par from a desert bush on the second extra hole and ended his long day with a bogey to lose. Stricker next plays Piercy, and the ease with which Piercy won caught his attention.
Lewis holds 3-shot
lead at LPGA Thailand
CHONBURI, Thailand — Stacy Lewis shot a 3-under 69 Friday to keep her three-stroke lead after the second round of the LPGA Thailand.
Lewis had five birdies and two bogeys to follow up her 63 Thursday for a 12-under 132 total at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course, replicating her 2012 form that made her the first American to win the LPGA Player of the Year award since Beth Daniel in 1994.
“It’s always hard to follow up a really good day. I thought if I could shoot 4 or 5 under that would still be a really solid day. I almost got there but it was kind of up and down — I definitely left a few out there,” said Lewis, who is looking for her first title since the 2012 Mizuno Classic. “I didn’t hit it as good today, but I made some putts on the back nine and still have a three-shot lead, so I can’t complain.”
Thai teenager Ariya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 66 in windy and humid conditions to move into second place.