Friday, February 22, 2008

Accenture Match Play Championship - Woods escapes again

Tiger Woods could recall just one similar birdie slug-fest in his career after beating Australia's Aaron Baddeley over 20 holes in Friday's third round at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

"The only other match that was similar to that was the Match Play against O'Meara in '98, at Wentworth," twice winner Woods told reporters after racking up 12 birdies to Baddeley's nine in a tight battle of shot-making at Dove Mountain.
Woods lost to good friend and fellow American Mark O'Meara by a hole in a fluctuating final of the 1998 World Match Play Championship at Wentworth in south-east England.
"I think he was 11 under and I was 10 under. I thought that was a pretty good match."
On Friday, Woods and Baddeley treated the watching gallery to a thrilling exhibition of high-quality golf before the American world number one sealed victory with a 13-foot birdie putt on the par-four second, the second extra hole.
Woods had charged two up with birdies on the first two holes before his opponent piled on the pressure with six birdies in seven holes around the turn.
Baddeley, 26, took the lead for the first time by rolling in a 10-footer on the 14th green but Woods levelled a tight match after hitting his tee shot to two feet at the par-three 16th.
"I felt that I was in control of the match the entire way around until I lost it on 14 and then went one down," Woods said after reaching the quarter-finals for the fifth time in nine appearances at the event.
"With four holes to go, I had to find a way to at least get that control back.
"It (the match) was unbelievable, really. I made, I think, two mistakes and gave him two holes, but he did the same. Every other hole it seemed like we birdied. It was unbelievable how many birdies we made out there today."
Woods, bidding for an eighth title in nine starts worldwide and a sixth in a row, will meet South Korea's K.J. Choi in the last eight on Saturday.
"K.J. is one of the best drivers out here," the 32-year-old said. "He drives it on a string most of the time and he's been very consistent over the last few years. I expect for that to be the case tomorrow and it will be a tough match."
Woods, winner of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at La Costa in 2003 and 2004, had not progressed beyond the third round for the last three years

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