Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell advance to quarter-finals of WGC Match Play
By Mark Kendall - Twitter: @SkySportsMK. Last Updated: 24/02/13 11:16am
Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell were the only Europeans to advance to the quarter-finals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on Saturday.
Both men enjoyed comfortable victories, Poulter seeing off South Africa's Tim Clark 5&3 and McDowell overcoming fellow Irishman Shane Lowry 3&2.
Poulter, champion in 2010, did not have to be at his best to defeat Clark who made a total of five bogeys, including three in a row from the seventh to hand his opponent a 3up lead he never looked like surrendering.
The Englishman played solid stuff, not dropping a shot and, having started at the tenth hole, eventually forced a concession from Clark on the sixth green having put his tee-shot at the par-three to within seven feet.
Round Three results
(US unless stated)
R Garrigus beat F Jacobson (Swe) 3&1
M Kuchar beat N Colsaerts (Bel) 4&3
G McDowell (NIrl) beat S Lowry (Irl) 3&2
J Day (Aus) beat B Watson 4&3
S Stricker beat S Piercy 1up
I Poulter (Eng) beat T Clark (SA) 5&3
W Simpson beat G Fernandez-Castano (Spa) 2up
H Mahan beat M Kaymer (Ger) 5&4
Speaking afterwards, Poulter reiterated his love of the format, stating: "You have to play aggressive and that's when I play my best golf."
McDowell was behind early against Rory McIlroy's conqueror Lowry having lost the second hole to a birdie, but was 4up by the turn following a run of four birdies in five holes.
Mahan on song
He maintained that advantage on the back-nine with par-golf before losing the 15th after a wild drive, but a solid up-and-down at the par-three 16th was good enough to close out victory with something to spare.
Defending champion Hunter Mahan continued his excellent form this week as he thrashed Martin Kaymer 5&4. The German was actually the last man to beat Mahan at this venue back in 2011, but he did not get a sniff on Saturday with Mahan racing 5up through eight holes.
Alongside Mahan, there are four more Americans in the last eight with Robert Garrigus, Matt Kuchar, Steve Stricker and Webb Simpson all progressing.
Kuchar was particularly impressive as he took care of Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts 4&3, while big-hitting Garrigus eventually beat Freddie Jacobson 3&1 despite surrendering a 3up lead to the Swede on the early part of the back-nine.
Stricker won through in dramatic fashion as he rolled home a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th green to clinch a 1up triumph over Scott Piercy following a high-quality affair - the duo finishing a combined 15-under-par.
Simpson survived a late wobble to record a 2up victory over Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, while Jason Day booked his place in the fourth round with comfortable 4&3 success over Bubba Watson.
Matt Kuchar v Robert Garrigus
Graeme McDowell v Jason Day
Ian Poulter v Steve Stricker
Hunter Mahan v Webb Simpson