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

Paul Casey set up an all-English final against Ian Poulter at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship when he returned to Dove Mountain in Arizona and won his marathon duel with Camilo Villegas.

Five extra holes had failed to produce a winner last night, but on the resumption at 7.10am it took only one more for Casey to reach his second successive final in the event.

Runner-up to Australian Geoff Ogilvy last year, Casey triumphed with a par four on the 24th - the longest match of the week - after his Colombian opponent snap-hooked his drive.

Villegas did well to find it in the middle of the desert scrub and, although it was in a bush, he was able to hack it back onto the fairway.

While he hit his third to 30 feet beyond the flag Casey's approach came up short of the green, but he chipped to five feet and after Villegas missed he holed.

There was a possible difference of almost €580,000 between winning the semi-final and losing it.

If Casey then beat Poulter in the 36-hole final - it began almost immediately - he would earn over €890,000, whereas losing to Villegas would have sent him into an 18-hole third-place play-off against Sergio Garcia. Losing that would leave him with €311,712.

At stake between the two men handed wild cards into the last Ryder Cup by Nick Faldo was not just the money, but the World Number Five spot.

As soon as Casey had shaken hands with Villegas, the only player so far to take him past the 14th hole this week, he was taken in a buggy back to the practice putting green.

There he was met by Poulter, dressed all in pink, and they walked together to the first tee.

Villegas was left to rue a missed putt of under three feet in the fading light yesterday evening, but had to gather himself again to take on Garcia at lunchtime.

Casey struck first in the final and did so brilliantly with a 216 yard second shot to eight feet on the long second.

Poulter could do no better than par and conceded the hole, but made a seven foot birdie putt on the next to level.

The next three holes were all shared, Poulter saving par on the fifth when his bunker shot hit the flag and stopped five inches away.

They both missed the green on the 486 yard seventh and after Casey duffed his first chip Poulter lipped out with his and with a par four went one up.

Poulter doubled his advantage on the long eighth when he made a 12 footer and Casey missed from eight.

The ninth was shared in pars. Poulter turned in a two under 34 to Casey's 35 but the important thing was the gap between them was two holes.


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