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February 23 2013

2:47 PM

Rd. 3: Stricker def. Piercy, 1 up

MARANA, Ariz. -- Steve Stricker is one of the PGA TOUR's most understated stars. But the veteran showed a flair for the dramatic on Saturday when he birdied the last two holes to come from behind and beat Scott Piercy 1 up.

Stricker, who turned 46 on Saturday, two-putted the par-5 eighth from 33 feet for the first birdie before he drained a putt from 31 for the win. That was the only time Stricker led in the hard-fought match that started on No. 10.

"It was a tough putt," Stricker said. "It was downhill, downgrain, and he had five or six feet left, and I was just making sure I wasn't going to give myself the same comeback or so. I wanted to make sure I had good speed, but I had a pretty good feel for the line. ... But you don't expect to make a putt like that.
 
"We both played great, and that's match play. He didn't make a bogey today and neither did I, and neither one of us really deserve to go home. But I'm very excited to be moving on."

Piercy grabbed a 1-up lead three different times during the match and each time Stricker managed to even the proceedings. It took Stricker two holes the first two times  Piercy led and four holes the third but he ended up making the putts when it counted.

SCORECARD STATS: Stricker made eight birdies and no bogeys. Piercy made seven birdies and no bogeys. The Accenture Match Play Championship rookie has not made a bogey in his last two matches, in fact.

HOLES WON: Stricker won four holes. Piercy won three holes.

NEXT OPPONENT: Ian Poulter, who beat Tim Clark 5 and 3.

"It's going to be tough," Stricker said. "He's a good match play player. ... But I'm playing well. I like what I'm doing. I like how I'm hitting it. I'm making a lot of putts. I can't give him any holes. That's the key to this match play, I think, is just stay in every hole and make the other guy beat you."

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