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04 December 2023

Top seeds finally post victories

Paul Casey (SUPPLIED)


The Accenture Match Play Championship finally caught a little break on Friday as favourites ruled the day en route to the quarter-finals.

Six of the eight higher seeds won third-round matches at Dove Mountain, where the American presence all but petered out.

The lone surviving American is Stewart Cink, and the British Open champion barely outlasted South African Charl Schwartzel 1-up at the 19th hole.

It was another good day for the European contingent, with Spaniard Sergio Garcia and Englishmen Paul Casey, Ian Poulter and Oliver Wilson advancing.

South African Retief Goosen, Colombian Camilo Villegas and Thai Thongchai Jaidee are the other quarter-finalists as the event lives up to its World Golf Championships billing.

Sixth seed Casey is the highest ranked player still alive, thanks to an emphatic 5 and 4 victory over American Brian Gay.

"I thought it was going to be a very close match starting out," said Casey, who was beaten by Australian Geoff Ogilvy in last year's final.

"I was behind after three holes, which is the first time I've been down all week, but it caught my attention, made me focus."

Casey earned a quarter-final match against Cink, who was on the verge of elimination when he stood over a must-make 18-foot par putt at the 18th hole.

"If I didn't make that putt I was going home," said Cink, who poured it home before clinching victory with a six-foot birdie at the next.

In an all-Asian affair, Jaidee pulled off a minor upset beating Japanese teenager Ryo Ishikawa 5 and 4.


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