Friday, 19 March 2010
Thomas Björn clinched a dramatic victory over Colin Montgomerie at the fifth extra-hole to join four other European Tour Members in the last 16 of the WGC - Andersen Consulting Match Play Championship at La Costa.

After the longest match in the history of the event, the Dane now faces a showdown with 1997 Ryder Cup team-mate Darren Clarke in the last 16. The other European Tour Members to reach the last 16 were Open Champion Paul Lawrie and Spaniards Miguel Angel Jiménez and Sergio Garcia.

Björn, ahead on six separate occasions, had a 15-foot putt to win on the 17th, but amazingly three-putted, missing from little more than two feet. That brought them level instead of settling the match and after Björn had made a 12-footer to stay alive on the last they went to five more holes.

Third seed Montgomerie, salvaging halves by chipping close at the first two holes of sudden death, missed from three feet at the 21st, then Björn failed from 12 feet on the next. They both missed the green at the 446-yard 23rd, but while Bjorn chipped dead Montgomerie this time went 12 feet past and missed the return.

Earlier, Clarke had a resounding five and four victory over 1998 Open and US Masters champion Mark O'Meara, highlighted by a chip in for an eagle on the 12th and then a birdie on the following hole. Clarke said: "I was five under par and if I can keep playing like that this week I will be fine. I wasn't making mistakes and in fairness Mark isn't anywhere near the level he would wish to be at."

There was victory as well for current Open champion Lawrie, beating Billy Mayfair 3 and 2 and he now meets a third American in Mark Calcavecchia. In the seven months since his Open championship victory at Carnoustie, the 31-year-old has shown he belongs in the highest echelon. Lawrie was one down at the turn, but took four of the next six holes.

"I'm swinging it well and starting to putt better," said the Aberdeen player. "It should be fun against Mark."

Garcia was outstanding as he chalked up a record 7 and 6 win over Canadian Mike Weir to set up a mouth-watering tie against the World Number Two David Duval, while his compatriot Jiménez was equally impressive in defeating the 1997 Open Champion Tom Lehman. He now faces Bob Estes in the last 16.

But other European Tour Members didn’t fare so well. Seeded seventh, Westwood lost to Scott Hoch on the last and said: "I got what I deserved. I just couldn't find the middle of the clubface and when that happens anyone is a tough opponent."

Retief Goosen put up a brave fight against World Number One Tiger Woods, but the South African three-putted the last green to lose a titanic struggle and Calcavecchia beat Masters champion José Maria Olazábal four and three.

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