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Friday, 19 March 2010
Accenture Match Play Championship-Round Two  (Getty Images)
Accenture Match Play Championship-Round Two (Getty Images)

Oliver Wilson claimed another big name victim at the World Golf Championships - Accenture Match Play as he knocked out World Number 11 Anthony Kim at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club as Tiger Woods battled against an even bigger upset.

The Ryder Cup rivals from last year were involved in a see-saw match in the desert near Tucson with England’s Wilson looking to claim a second successive upset having beaten KJ Choi in the first round.

Wilson, who with Henrik Stenson came from four holes down to beat Phil Mickelson and Kim in foursomes at Valhalla last September, tasted victory over the young American hotshot again with a 2 and 1 win.

Wilson completed victory and a huge upset at the 17th when he sank a ten foot putt to halve the hole with Kim waiting to putt from six feet. He now meets another American, Justin Leonard, in the last 16 after the former The Open Championship winner defeated compatriot Davis Love III 1 up.

“Two good wins,” Wilson said. “He's a great player, and obviously The Ryder Cup I think maybe helped me a little bit, knowing that I've already beat him before.

“So I went out there just trying to play well and managed to do that, but it was a very tough match.

“I think the European guys have had a good day so far. I know there's still some matches going on, but it's looking pretty good for most of the guys, so that's good for us. But I'm just one match at a time.”

World Number One Woods was continuing his comeback from an eight month injury lay-off with his second round match against Tim Clark of South Africa.

Woods, who marked his return with a 3 and 2 victory over Australia's Brendan Jones in the first round, took an early lead with a birdie at the second before Clark brought the match back to all square with a magnificent 68 foot putt at the fifth.

Clark went one up at the sixth before Woods, the defending champion, levelled the match at the seventh.

There was an upset in the making when Woods bogeyed the par five, 659 yard 11th to lose the hole and then saw Clark birdie the 12th and 13th to go 3 down.

However, he chipped in out the bunker from 55 yards at the 14th to reduce the deficit to two.

There was further success for England when Paul Casey reached the third round with a 6 and 4 win over Australia’s Mathew Goggin and Ross Fisher ended the run of Pat Perez, the American who knocked out Padraig Harrington in the first round.

“It felt like a tougher match than 6 and 4,” said Casey.

“But yeah, I played very solid golf, which I was happy with, because yesterday I felt like I played very well for the 16 holes and then got quite tired actually on the last couple from traveling back from Australia.”

Fisher was five up after ten holes, and finished in style, sinking an eagle putt to send Perez to a 6 and 5 defeat.

“Obviously it's great for European golf, and obviously it's great for English golf,” he said.

“We've got some really good youngsters coming through, as well, that aren't here this week. They're playing on The European Tour. I think the future is very bright, not only for European golf but for English and British golf.”

Luke Donald made it four English players in the last 16 as he continued his return from a wrist injury to beta Vijay Singh at the 19th hole and set up a third round tie with match play specialist Ernie Els.

“My wife keeps telling me ‘Can’t you just win on the 12th or 13th one of these days?’ to make it easier on her heart,” he said.

“I was just pleased to take it into extra holes after being two down with two to play but feel I just snatched this one out of nowhere.”

Lee Westwood, the first of six Englishmen in the last 32 out on the course, was involved in a marathon match with American Stewart Cink, last year’s runner-up, but became the first of the English contingent to bow out on day two.

He had trailed from the second hole until the 12th, then went one up at the 13th, only to bogey the 14th and see Cink birdie the 15th to regain the initiative.

Westwood was not finished though and was back in touch at the 16th as Cink bogeyed to make the match all square and hang in for sudden death. Four extra holes could not separate them but when Westwood missed from ten feet at the 23rd hole it was the American who reached the last 16.

Westwood said: “He only hit seven greens in regulation and when it is hard to make birdies round this place with the undulations on the greens so any time you get someone like that who gets up and down from everywhere and keeps making putts for halves it is going to be tough.”

Cink will play Phil Mickelson, who reached the third round after beating Zach Johnson 1 up, but not before another back nine scare.

Mickelson had needed 19 holes to get past Argentina’s Angel Cabrera in the opening round, having let slip a four hole lead over the back nine.

Against 2007 Masters Tournament champion Johnson, a first round winner over Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, he saw a 4 up lead cut to one between the 14th and 17th holes before hanging on to win.

Colombia’s Camilo Villegas, in Woods’ bracket of the draw, was once again showing some hot form as he took a 4 up lead over Spain’s Miguel Angel Jiménez in the first five holes and maintained that for a 5 and 4 victory.

Sweden’s Peter Hanson scored a 2 and 1 victory over Stephen Ames of Canada while Ernie Els overcame Steve Stricker 3 and 2 as a record number of European Tour Members continued to perform well.

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