Westwood start stuns McIlroy

2/26/2012 3:24:14 PM
Lee Westwood  (Getty Images)
Lee Westwood (Getty Images)
Lee Westwood wasted no time in taking control of his World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship semi-final against Rory McIlroy.

The Englishman, taking on his Ryder Cup teammate and former stablemate, raced into a three up lead after just four holes in Tucson.

World Number Three Westwood – who like McIlroy has to win the title to replace Luke Donald at the top of the Official World Golf Ranking – showed unerring accuracy over the opening stretch to establish a commanding lead.

McIlroy chipped to a foot on the first to salvage a half, but the US Open Champion could not match Westwood’s birdie form four feet at the next.

The Northern Irishman found sand off the tee at the par three third, and despite a good chip missed his par putt from inside five feet.

Westwood was close enough to the green with his drive on the 393 yard fourth to use his putter for his second shot and then holed from five feet for a second birdie after McIlroy, in the rough off the tee, had missed from twice as far.

That made the gap three, but Westwood bogeyed the next after his approach ran through the green up against the collar of rough.

In the other semi-final Hunter Mahan led Mark Wilson in a topsy-turvy all-American encounter.

Wilson drove into desert scrub at the first and Mahan’s third at the par five second finished inside four feet to put him two up. 

But World Number 22 Mahan’s tee shot found the same bunker as McIlroy at the third and, although he pitched to eight feet at fourth and birdied, a shank at the fifth followed by a 20 footer from Wilson reduced Mahan’s lead to one up after five.

Westwood was the closer of the two on the short sixth, but McIlroy was the one to hole. A 28 foot birdie putt there gave him a second hole in a row after his former stablemate missed from 27 and there was only one in it once more.

Mahan, though, returned to two up when his opponent missed the green at the seventh and had his second bogey of the day.