Date: February 21, 2014
Author: Luke Sheehan, Omnisport

Seeds tumble out of Match Play Championship, Jason Day survives

It was a tough day for top seeds at the WGC Match Play Championship on Thursday, as Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose bowed out.

Northern Ireland's McIlroy was bundled out by American Harris English through 19 holes, with the latter fighting back from a 1-down deficit with two holes to play. English had led 2-up through 13, but McIlroy won the following three holes, only for English to birdie the 17th and force extras. And a double bogey from the world number seven sealed his fate, with English progressing in the Ben Hogan bracket – and he faces compatriot Jim Furyk next. Furyk was a 3-and-2 winner over South Africa's Charl Schwartzel, while other winners in their section were Spain's Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler. Garcia was the first winner of the day, beating American Bill Haas 3 and 1, before Fowler made it three out of four for the locals in the Hogan bracket as he tamed the in-form Jimmy Walker 1-up. Sweden's Stenson did not get a look in against South African Louis Oosthuizen in a 4-and-3 loss, with the latter leading from the first hole onwards. Oosthuizen shot to a three-up lead inside four holes, and preserved a 2-up buffer for much of the match, before picking up more holes at 12 and 15 to knock Stenson out. Next for the 2010 Open Championship winner will be fellow major winner Webb Simpson, as the 2012 US Open champion beat Brandt Snedeker 4 and 3. Second seed in the Jones quarter, Jason Day needed 22 holes to see off American Billy Horschel, and the Australian next faces George Coetzee after the South African beat Patrick Reed through 21 holes. In the Sam Snead bracket, all the matches went to seeding – as Hunter Mahan (eight), Graeme McDowell (four), Victor Dubuisson (seven) and Bubba Watson (three) progressed. Mahan beat South Africa's Richard Sterne 2-up, while McDowell arrested a deficit late for the second day in succession to chase down Japan's Hideki Matsuyama 1-up. France's Dubuisson negotiated his match with Swede Peter Hanson 3 and 1, and he next faces Watson, after the big-hitting American knocked out another Swede Jonas Blixt 2-up. The Gary Player bracket saw three of the top four seeds advance, but number one seed Rose did not. South African Ernie Els pipped Englishman Rose through 20 holes, after the latter found the bunker which he could not escape at the first attempt. Second seed Matt Kuchar was a 1-up winner over Ryan Moore, young gun Jordan Spieth taught Thomas Bjorn a lesson with a 5-and-4 result while Jason Dufner got the better of Italy's Matteo Manassero 2 and 1.