Hunter Mahan was about to putt at the fourth hole in Sunday's title match when a flying umbrella forced him to back off.
One of Lee Westwood's drives in his semifinal loss to Rory McIlroy ended up in an unusual spot.
The photo above is from the first fairway after Hunter Mahan and Rory McIlroy hit their opening tee shots.
MARANA, Ariz. – PGATOUR.COM staffers Mike McAllister and Helen Ross are on the scene at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. Here are their predictions for the last two matches of the tournament – the championship final between Rory McIlroy and Hunter Mahan, and the consolation final between Lee Westwood and Mark Wilson.
Now it’s your turn. Which players do you like in the finals?
Although Mahan has been terrific all week – no player has made more birdies – McIlroy just seems to be getting better with each match. He showed something by rallying to beat Lee Westwood after being 3 down early in the semifinal match. I think he has the most momentum going into the afternoon.”
Ross’ prediction: Mahan
”He's made the well-timed birdies and poured in clutch putts to halve. Plus, I think McIlroy may have expended too much focus on Westwood.”
McAllister’s prediction: Westwood
”Westwood has been solid all week and didn’t play badly in losing to McIlroy. He just ran into a buzzsaw.”
Ross’ prediction: Wilson
”I'll go with my fellow Tar Heel from North Carolina. He's playing well and he has more to prove.”
MARANA, Ariz. – Rory McIlroy and Hunter Mahan will play in the championship finals Sunday of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. That match will start at 2:20 p.m. ET, with the consolation match between Lee Westwood and Mark Wilson beginning at 2:05 p.m. ET.
It will be the first time in Accenture Match Play history that the two finalists are in their 20s. McIlroy, a No. 1 seed this week, is 22; Mahan, a No. 6 seed this week, is 29. It’s also the first time since 2001 that a player from the United States has met a player from Europe in the final.
“It was a really good match,” McIlroy said. “So I'm expecting something similar to that.”
Should McIlroy win, he would win his first World Golf Championships event and become the youngest winner ever of a WGC event. He would also replace Luke Donald as the top-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking. And he would become the fourth consecutive international player to win the Accenture Match Play.
After Luke departed early, that was the goal this week -- to try and get through as many rounds as possible, and give myself a chance to get to No. 1 in the world,” McIlroy said. “And I've given myself that chance this afternoon and hopefully I can take it.”
Also, if Mahan wins, it will mark the first time Americans have won the first eight events on the PGA TOUR schedule since 2001, when Robert Allenby won the Northern Trust Open in the ninth event of the year. Prior to 2001, the last time Americans won the first eight events of the year was in 1991 when they won the first 12 before Ian Woosnam claimed the USF&G Classic (Zurich Classic of New Orleans).
At No. 22 in the Official World Golf Ranking entering this week, Mahan becomes the lowest ranked player to advance to the finals since Paul Casey (No. 23) in 2009. He is the lowest-ranked American to advance to the finals since Stewart Cink (No. 22) in 2008.
“I’ve got to beat one more incredible player to win,” Mahan said. “It’s going to be a tough match.”
William McGirt, who finished 141st on the money list in 2011, is back on TOUR in 2012 after getting into the clubhouse at 11 under. McGirt, who made it through two events in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, fired a 69 Monday to move off the bubble.
He will be joined by 48-year-old Scott Dunlap, who has 184 career PGA TOUR starts, and Greg Owen, who has 142 starts. Both Dunlap and Owen finished at 10 under. Owen's final-round 67 is one of the best rounds of the day.
Low round of the day? Sang-Moon Bae, who fired rounds of 69-66 on the last two days to secure his card.
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- With just seven made cuts in 20 starts and zero top-25s on the Nationwide Tour, Patrick Sheehan didn’t exactly have the kind of year he was looking for. But the 42-year-old, who works with his younger brother Chris as his swing coach, was more concerned about using the year as a building one to fix the bad habits he’d fallen into with his swing.
After finishing at 10 under at q-school following a final-round 66, he’ll now have the opportunity to do that on the PGA TOUR.
The last time Sheehan played on TOUR was in 2009, when he split his season between the Nationwide Tour and the PGA TOUR.
“With the stuff I saw this week with the improvements, if it keeps moving in that direction my expectations will be a little higher,” Sheehan said. “My ball-striking is better than when I was out there. I love the way I played the last three days.”
Meanwhile, the magic number to secure a TOUR card, is currently at 8 under with 28 players at that mark or better. Three of those 28 already have secured a TOUR card via the Nationwide Tour.