Golf: Bubba Watson only top-10 seed left at Match Play Championship
Marana, Ariz. • And then there was one.
One day after Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods went home, more top seeds followed Friday in the Match Play Championship until Masters champion Bubba Watson was the only seed from the top 10 remaining at Dove Mountain.
And even that wasn't easy.
Watson, the No. 8 seed, missed two straight putts from 5 feet that would have won the match before he finally put away Jim Furyk in 22 holes. It was the first time since this World Golf Championship began in 1999 that only one top-10 seed was left after two rounds.
What does that mean?
"Nothing," Watson said. "This game ... it's a toss-up. You can't really judge who's going to win, or bet who's going to win."
Luke Donald, the No. 3 seed who birdied his last two holes on Thursday to win his opening match, didn't know what hit him Friday. Scott Piercy won the first three holes, and then holed out from 221 yards with a 4-iron on the fifth hole and was on his way. He won, 7 and 6, to give Donald his worst loss in this event.
Fourth-seeded Louis Oosthuizen never led against Robert Garrigus, who closed him out on the 16th hole and sounded as though he had penciled himself into the final.
"I looked at all the guys in my bracket and I was like, 'I can beat him. I can beat him. And I can beat him.' If I'm playing well and putting well, I'm going to be hard to beat. And a lot of guys will tell you that, too, because I hit the ball in the fairway. Because these fairways are huge, and if I can keep it out of the bushes, I'll be all right out here."
He'll find out Saturday morning against Jason Day, who overcame a clutch putt on the 18th hole to be PGA Tour rookie Russell Henley on the 19th.
Justin Rose, the No. 5 seed, couldn't keep up with Nicolas Colsaerts and lost, 4 and 2.
Shane Lowry earned a footnote in history at this 15-year-old tournament. After knocking out McIlroy on the 18th hole of the first round, the burly Irishman became the first No. 64 seed to advance to the third round. This wasn't that difficult, as he seized control early and beat Carl Pettersson, 6 and 5.
"I would have been all right to beat Rory, but to lose in the second round is not what I want coming here this week," Lowry said. "I wanted to go on. I feel like I could potentially do very well in this tournament."
Two more wins on Saturday and Lowry will qualify for the next WGC event at Doral in two weeks. But there will be only one Irishman left standing on Saturday. Next up for Lowry is Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, who outlasted Alex Noren of Sweden in 20 holes.
The other giant killer, Charles Howell III, wasn't so fortunate. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who had to finish his 1-up win over Francesco Molinari in the morning, never lost a hole in a 6-and-5 win. Howell, one day after beating Woods, didn't make a single birdie.
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.
Of the 16 players remaining, the Americans and Europeans each have seven players still alive, with one each for South Africa (Tim Clark) and Australia (Day).