Accenture Match Play third-round analysis

Originally Published: February 25, 2005
By Jason Sobel | ESPN.com

CARLSBAD, Calif. -- And then there was one? It's an event that has seen the better players hang around for the weekend over the past few years, but the Accenture Match Play Championship quarterfinals will feature only Retief Goosen of the four No. 1 seeds. So who's left? Here's the breakdown of the eight third-round matches.

BOBBY JONES BRACKET
Matchup Result Analysis
(4) Chris DiMarco vs.
(9) Jay Haas
DiMarco, 2 and 1 Couldn't these guys have played a little best-ball or alternate shot? DiMarco and Haas comprised the most successful combination for the U.S. during last year's Ryder Cup, but the two friends had to battle head-to-head in this one. When DiMarco gets hot, he's hard to beat. The only problem is he hasn't been hot lately. But that wasn't the case Friday; DiMarco made six birdies in an eight-hole stretch in the middle of the match. That was the difference.
(2) Stewart Cink vs.
(3) Davis Love III
Cink, 20 holes In our second-round analysis, we wrote that Cink's morning opponent, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman, got a good look at his No. 3 player (behind Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson) throughout the match. Love, meanwhile, would like to hold onto that spot on the team (which really means nothing, other than being good debate fodder). Each recorded matching rounds of 33-35 for a total of 68 and were deadlocked after 18 holes. Cink won the match on the par-3 second hole, his par beating Love's bogey.

BEN HOGAN BRACKET
Matchup Result Analysis
(1) Retief Goosen vs.
(5) Chad Campbell
Goosen, 19 holes Goosen barely escaped becoming the fourth and final No. 1 seed to lose before the weekend. Instead, he rallied from 2 down through 13 holes to stay alive. Not bad for a guy who wasn't even expected to play in this event, but decided to make the trip only after being disqualified from last week's Nissan Open. As for Campbell, he played 43 total holes in just over nine hours on Friday; by comparison, he played 37 holes in five days while losing the Nissan in a one-hole Monday playoff last week.
(11) Robert Allenby vs.
(15) Kirk Triplett
Allenby, 2 and 1 It's crazy that Allenby has gotten this far considering what he thinks of this golf course and of himself right now. Consider this: "[La Costa] is probably the worst course we play on tour," Allenby said before the event started. "I hate it. I've never seen it in good condition. You could move [the tournament] but I don't think that's going to happen, because I think the main sponsor likes it here." Of himself, Allenby isn't any more flattering. Before last week's Nissan Open: "I haven't been hitting the ball very well. My short game has been terrible. My putting has been horrendous, and I have been driving the ball pretty bad. And I've been hitting my irons pretty average, too." His game was up and down in this one -- six birdies, four bogeys in 17 holes. Triplett was a surprise just to get this far.

GARY PLAYER BRACKET
Matchup Result Analysis
(5) Luke Donald vs.
(8) Nick O'Hern
O'Hern, 5 and 4 In a 24-hour period, O'Hern made a name for himself worldwide as a giant killer. In the first round, the left-handed Aussie knocked off Charles Howell III in 19 holes, then came back Friday morning and defeated reigning two-time champ Tiger Woods. So you can excuse him if he didn't play his best golf against the solid Donald. Except, of course, he did play perhaps his best golf of the three matches, making six birdies and no bogeys in doing away with Donald, one of the foremost players in the young British Invasion on the PGA Tour.
(10) Rory Sabbatini vs.
(11) Ian Poulter
Poulter, 1 up Is there a corollary between winning matches and wearing ugly pants? Well, at least Poulter wins in style. Sabbatini made eagles on two of the par-5 holes, but did little else to establish himself. In reality, he was the weakest opponent of Poulter's first three, as the young Englishman knocked off Jim Furyk and Stuart Appleby prior to this one.

SAM SNEAD BRACKET
Matchup Result Analysis
(1) Phil Mickelson vs.
(4) David Toms
Toms, 4 and 2 And there goes the last of the fan favorites. Local hero Mickelson was as hot as anyone entering this event, having won in each of his previous two starts before getting a rest during the oft-weather delayed Nissan last week. Instead, the reigning Masters champ ran into a buzz saw in Toms, who made seven birdies and no bogeys in 16 holes. In the three previous seasons, Toms made it to the third round, finals and quarters of this event.
(2) Sergio Garcia vs.
(3) Adam Scott
Scott, 4 and 3 Are there two brighter young stars in the world? As solid as Garcia's game is, Scott showed on Friday that he may be the preeminent mid-twentysomething on tour. Sergio played well in this one, but the 24-year-old Aussie made five birdies and 10 pars over 15 holes in the win. The turning point? The match was all square entering the seventh hole, but Scott went par-birdie-birdie to make the turn at 3 up and never looked back.

Jason Sobel is ESPN.com's golf editor. He can be reached at Jason.Sobel@espn3.com

Jason Sobel | email

Golf Editor, ESPN.com
Jason Sobel, who joined ESPN in 1997, earned four Sports Emmy awards as a member of ESPN's Studio Production department. He became ESPN.com's golf editor in July 2004.

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