Golf roundup: Top players meet their match in Match Play Championship

Getting to the round of 16 in the Match Play Championship was all that mattered Thursday in Marana, Ariz.

Jordan Spieth made it look like child’s play. Graeme McDowell aged another 10 years with another stunning escape. And it proved too difficult for Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, and Rory McIlroy, who lost in extra holes on another wild day at Dove Mountain.

‘‘I thought I was dead and buried both days,’’ McDowell said.


One day after rallying from 3 down with three holes to play to win in overtime, McDowell was two holes back on the 15th tee when he made an 8-foot birdie, halved the next hole with a 10-foot par, won the 17th with a birdie, and then holed a 6-foot par putt on 18 for a 1-up win over Hideki Matsuyama.

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In two matches, McDowell has stood on the tee with his match all square only four times — and two of those were at the start of the match.

Jason Day already has played 40 holes in two rounds. He rallied from 3 down early against Billy Horschel and beat him in 22 holes.

‘‘Doesn’t matter how you get it done,’’ Day said. ‘‘Find a way to win.’’

The top seeds lost their way.


Stenson, the No. 1 seed, fell behind against Louis Oosthuizen and never caught up in a 4-and-3 loss. It was the sixth straight year, dating to Tiger Woods winning the Accenture Match Play Championship in 2008, that the top seed did not make it out of the second round.

Rose (No. 2) and McIlroy (No. 4) followed him.

Ernie Els poured in one clutch putt after another to stay in his match, and then beat Rose, the reigning US Open champion. Els and Rose both made 10-foot birdie putts on the 19th hole, and then Els finally got a break to go his way in a format that has haunted him over the years.

McIlroy had his hands full against Harris English. Boy Wonder managed a strong comeback, but made double bogey on the 19th hole.

Sergio Garcia at No. 5 is now the top seed remaining after his 3-and-1 victory over Bill Haas. Next up for Garcia is Rickie Fowler, who outlasted one of golf’s hottest players, Jimmy Walker, in 18 holes.


Matt Kuchar, the defending champion, had a 1-up victory over Ryan Moore in a match so close that 15 of the 18 holes were halved.

Hunter Mahan didn’t take his first lead until the 17th hole in a 2-up win over Richard Sterne.

LPGA — Anna Nordqvist holed out from 60 yards for eagle on the par-4 15th hole and made a short birdie putt on No. 17 to take a one-stroke lead over Michelle Wie after the first round of the LPGA Thailand.

 Nordqvist shot a 6-under 66 on Siam Country Club’s Pattaya Old Course. She eagled No. 15 after two straight bogeys.

Wie had six birdies and a bogey in her 67.

Americans Angela Stanford, Lexi Thompson, and Jennifer Johnson shot 68. Stanford had a hole-in-one on the 135-yard eighth hole. She used an 8-iron.