Thursday, February 21, 2008

Accenture Match Play Championship Day 2

Tiger Woods cruised, Colin Montgomerie clawed his way through and Phil Mickelson crashed out of the second round of the eight million-dollar WGC Accenture Match Play Championship on Thursday.

World No. 1 Woods, who had a narrow escape in Wednesday's first round, was never in trouble in a 3 and 2 victory over Arron Oberholser.

"I played a lot better today," Woods said. "I did some work last night on the range, then did some work in the room and came out today with a game plan of what I need to do to warm up."

Woods said he worked "in front of the mirror to make sure that what I'm feeling is actually what I'm doing.

"In this game, feel and real are usually two different things. I was making sure what I did last night on the range was exactly what I thought I was doing."

Woods will next face Australian Aaron Baddeley, who advanced without hitting a shot when scheduled opponent David Toms conceded the match because of a a back ailment.

Second seed Phil Mickelson was eliminated, beaten 2 and 1 by Australian Stuart Appleby in a well-played match.

Montgomerie, Europe's Ryder Cup hero, produced a blistering back nine to hold off American Charles Howell.

Howell took the lead with four straight birdies from the 10th hole, but Montgomerie birdied three of the next four holes en route to a one-up victory.

Montgomerie, 59th seed, who only barely qualified for the World Golf Championships event, was delighted to get through to the final 16.

"That's a good effort," he said. "Charles birdied the 11th to go all square and my caddie said, 'Right, Mr. Montgomerie, it's Ryder Cup mode.' I was four-under from then on, so he should say that more often in stroke play events.

"We're in the last 16 and delighted. I look forward to playing again tomorrow."

Montgomerie said the 14th hole was key. He hit a six-iron to three feet to win the hole and square the match.

"It gave me the initiative to birdie 15 as well," he said.

Both players battled on the tougher front nine at Dove Montain, but each made five birdies coming in.

"The front nine, the pins are extremely tight, and that's why you'll find that today the scoring is perhaps better on the back nine," Montgomerie said.

Montgomerie will get a shot at another potential US Ryder Cup opponent, Stewart Cink, who beat Ireland's Padraig Harrington 2-up.

Paul Casey was the only other Briton to join Montgomerie in the third round, outlasting fellow Brit Bradley Dredge 2 and 1.

Spaniard Sergio Garcia also bowed out, falling 3 and 1 to American Boo Weekley...

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