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Saturday, 23 February 2008

Defending champion Henrik Stenson booked a semi-final showdown with World Number One Tiger Woods in the WGC – Accenture Match Play at The Gallery Golf Club in Tucson.

To date Woods is the only player to have won consecutive Accenture Match Play titles – in 2003 and 2004 – and now to emulate him, the Swede will firstly have to beat him in the 18 hole semi-final contest at the Arizona venue.

Stenson booked his place in the last four with his tenth consecutive victory at The Gallery Golf Club, seeing off American Woody Austin on the final green by two holes.

The Swede did not have matters all his own way in the early stages and indeed fell two holes behind to the 44 year old Austin after six holes.

But the whole crux of the match turned in the next five holes, all of which Stenson claimed, the latter four with birdies, to walk off the 11th green three holes up.

The European Ryder Cup player kept that advantage until Austin mounted a mini-comeback when he claimed the 16th and 17th to take the match to the final hole. But Stenson ensured Austin’s revival would end there with a superb birdie three at the 18th hole to close out the match.

The majority of Stenson’s ten victories at the course have come either down the final hole or in extra time but the Swede cheekily admitted he hoped that would not be the case against Woods.

“Hopefully I won’t play 18 against him, I’ll be trying to knock him out before that,” he said. “It will be a tough match obviously but I am really looking forward to the challenge.”

Woods, looking for his 15th individual success in a World Golf Championship event, booked his place in the last four with a comfortable 3 and 2 victory over KJ Choi, the World Number One recovering from losing the opening hole to square the match at the second before gradually pulling away from the Korean.

The second semi-final will be an all-American affair between Stewart Cink and Justin Leonard, the American duo having put paid to the other two remaining European Tour Members left in the tournament respectively, Angel Cabrera and Vijay Singh.

Cink was always in control against the Argentine before closing out the match on the 16th green 3 and 2, while Leonard was also never behind against the Fijian, but had to hole a ten foot birdie putt on the final green to eventually shut the door on The European Tour Honorary Member.

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