Danny Willett’s brilliant WGC – Cadillac Match Play debut came to an end at the semi-final stage as he was beaten 3 and 2 by America’s Gary Woodland.
The Englishman, making his tournament debut at TPC Harding Park, had emerged from a group containing compatriot Andy Sullivan and Americans Ryan Moore and Patrick Reed with a perfect 3-0 record.
The 27 year old then saw off two more countrymen on Saturday, beating Lee Westwood in the last 16 before dispatching of Tommy Fleetwood 4 and 3 in the quarter-final.
But despite a strong start, Willett was unable to find a way past 30 year old Woodland.
Willett got up-and-down for a winning birdie on the par five first to go one up, and he doubled that advantage when Woodland, who had beaten Australians Marc Leishman and John Senden on Saturday, conceded the fourth after finding a bunker with his approach and then chipping through the green.
Woodland turned things around with birdies from 30 feet on the sixth and 13 feet on the seventh, and went ahead when Willett missed a four footer for par at the eighth.
Willett had not been more than one down all week, but found himself two behind when Woodland pitched close at the 12th and birdied.
Willett halved the deficit with a birdie from six feet on the 13th, but then three-putted the next as Woodland restored his advantage.
And the two-time US PGA Tour winner rolled in a 20 foot birdie effort at the 16th to finish the match.
"We were three under par and played some solid golf, just missed a couple at the wrong time and he made a couple of nice ones at the end," Willett said.
"It's been a really long, tough week and we have to take away the positives, that it's Sunday in a World Golf Championship and we are here competing."