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Knockouts Include 1-2 Punch

Woods' streak ends at 13, Singh can't get out of the second round again, and they are joined in the La Costa parking lot by Mickelson, Garcia, Love.

February 26, 2005|Thomas Bonk | Times Staff Writer

CARLSBAD — That thud you might have heard Friday afternoon was the sound of the Nielsen weekend golf ratings hitting the floor.

After two days, eight of the top 10 ranked players in the world are history at the Accenture Match Play Championship, an attrition rate that surely didn't warm the hearts of ABC executives, television viewers or fans.

Everybody ready for a potential Nick O'Hern-Chris DiMarco 36-hole final Sunday?

It was a short two days in the mud for four of the top-ranked players here -- Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia -- who bid farewell to mushy La Costa, where they all lost Friday.

The top 10 thinned out quickly. Woods, Singh and Padraig Harrington lost their second-round matches in the morning, and then Mickelson, Garcia and Davis Love III dropped their third-round matches.

That left only fifth-ranked Retief Goosen and seventh-ranked Adam Scott to represent the top 10 as the $7.5-million tournament reached the weekend.

By noon, Singh and Woods, ranked 1-2 in the world, had packed their bags and prepared to head for supposedly sunny Miami and the Doral tournament, where they could bump heads and compare high-water marks again next week.

Singh, who got knocked out by 51-year-old Jay Haas, 3 and 2, continued his unwanted streak of never getting past the second round here. This was his sixth attempt, which is perhaps the reason Singh left La Costa without comment.

As for Woods, the two-time defending champion was upended, 3 and 1, by O'Hern, the 33-year-old left-handed Australian.

Not surprisingly, the match turned on the greens, where O'Hern, ranked 32nd, made enough putts and Woods didn't.

"You've just got to hit it and hope," Woods said.

Woods, who had his 13-match winning streak here halted, was 2-down after four holes, yet was still close until the 17th. That's where he drove into the right rough, then hit into a bunker. He knocked it out to 12 feet, but seemed to be far from happy, throwing his wedge out of the trap.

O'Hern was also in the right rough and had to hit a low punch shot to get below some branches. The ball stopped at the back of the green, 20 feet from the hole. He needed only a two-putt to win the match, but he rolled in the putt to oust Woods.

"It was a matter of making as little mistakes as possible and Tiger was unlucky with some of his putts," he said. "The greens were pretty bumpy and it's a guessing game whether they go in or not."

O'Hern had six birdies, a fact that Woods could only acknowledge with a nod.

"That usually works," he said.

Woods had four putts lip out, two of them inside of eight feet.

"I didn't play poorly, I just didn't make any putts," Woods said. "I'll tell you what, I can't wait to putt on some good greens."

Mickelson had no problem with Angel Cabrera, knocking him out of the second round, 4 and 3, then engaged in a birdie-for-birdie showdown with David Toms. It didn't work out well for Mickelson, who lost, 3 and 2.

Both players had three birdies in the first six holes, but when Mickelson bogeyed the ninth and Toms birdied the 10th, Toms held a 2-up lead. Toms had seven birdies and no bogeys.

Mickelson made it to the quarterfinals last year, but he has not reached the third round here any other time.

Goosen, who birdied the last hole to defeat Fred Couples, looked as if he might go out against Chad Campbell in the afternoon. Campbell was 2-up through 13 holes, but after he missed a seven-foot putt that would have won it on the 18th hole, he watched Goosen sink a four-foot birdie putt to win on the 19th hole.

Love defeated Lee Westwood in the morning but fell in the third round to Stewart Cink in 20 holes. Love's only bogey in the 32 holes he played Friday cost him his match with Cink, who plays DiMarco in a quarterfinal this morning. The winner plays the winner of the Robert Allenby-Goosen match in the afternoon.

After swamping Luke Donald, 5 and 4, O'Hern plays Ian Poulter in one quarterfinal, with Toms and Adam Scott meeting in another quarterfinal. Scott, the rain-shortened winner at Riviera, defeated Garcia, 4 and 3, with five birdies and no bogeys.

*

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

THE QUARTERFINALS

Accenture Match Play Championship pairings,

today at La Costa in Carlsbad (player's seeding in parentheses):

* Chris DiMarco (16) vs. Stewart Cink (8)

* Retief Goosen (4) vs. Robert Allenby (44)

* Nick O'Hern (31) vs. Ian Poulter (42)

* David Toms (14) vs. Adam Scott (11)

TV: Quarterfinals at 7:30 a.m., ESPN; Semifinals at noon, Channel 7

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