European Tour Member Nick O’Hern produced one of the performances of the week in World Golf Championships – Accenture Match Play at La Costa Resort and Spa, when he ousted defending champion Tiger Woods in a second round upset.
The 33 year old left-hander trailed the Number Two seed Woods from the tee at virtually every hole but took advantage of playing his second shots into the green first, when he closed out the match on the 17th green, 3 and 1.
Woods, never ahead, said: "He made all the putts he had to, and I didn't make any. That was the difference. Nick plods along. He's very solid and has an amazing short game."
O'Hern said: "I am playing really well and as I said yesterday, in this game, anything can happen. I just kept hitting fairways and greens and it was a matter of making the least mistakes possible.
"I thought if I played well I would have a chance and he would have to play some really good golf to beat me. We had a really good match and it was a lot of fun."
It proved to be a morning of upsets at the Carlsbad venue with World Number One and top seed Vijay Singh, joining Woods on the sidelines, the Fijian losing by 3 and 2 to American veteran Jay Haas.
That proved a disappointment for the European Tour contingent but elsewhere there was good news as five other Members – Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Retief Goosen, Ian Poulter and Adam Scott – progressed into the last 16.
Once again the best scoring performance was provided by Poulter. The Englishman was seven under par when he ousted former US Open Champion Jim Furyk in the first round and was six under par this time in easing past Australian Stuart Appleby 6 and 5.
After four successive birdies, he sank a 132 yard nine iron to the tenth for an eagle two and then birdied the next. "Holing that second shot obviously helped - but for the large majority of that round once again my game was flawless, incredible," said Poulter, a quarter-finalist on his debut last year.
"I looked away every time he was hitting his shots and just concentrated on making sure I hit the fairways. I feel good - I'm rolling my putts in, which is obviously going to upset your opponent. That's what you've got to do as early as possible."
Poulter was joined in the third round by Donald, who beat Kenny Perry on the final green; Garcia, who had to go to the first extra hole before shrugging off the dogged challenge of American Jerry Kelly; Goosen, who removed Fred Couples 2 and 1; and Scott, who beat fellow European Tour Member David Howell 2 and 1.
Goosen had looked like facing fellow European Tour Member Miguel Angel Jimenez in the third round after the Spaniard bravely won the last two holes in his match with American Chad Campbell to force extra time.
But after going to the sixth extra hole - only two holes short of the record match length in the event, it was Campbell who progressed with a par four, after Jimenez missed the green and made bogey five.