MARANA, Ariz, -- All eight third-round matches have made the turn and players are building substantial leads in several of them.
The only match that is all square is Scott Piercy's bout with Steve Stricker, who turns 46 today. Stricker just birdied the 10th hole to even that match.
Defending champion Hunter Mahan is pulling away from former world No. 1 Martin Kaymer. He's made five birdies in his first eight holes and owns a 5-up advantage.
Robert Garrigus, who is trying to win the Accenture Match Play Championship in his first appearance, was 3 up on Fredrik Jacobson after making his fourth birdie of the day on No. 9. But Jacobson just won the par-5 11th with a birdie so the lead is 2 up.
Matt Kuchar hasn't trailed in his match with Nicolas Colsaerts -- setting the tone early with birdies on three of his first four holes to go 2 up. Another birdie at the eighth gave him a 4-up advantage but he bogeyed the ninth and now leads 3 up through 10.
Ian Poulter, who won the Accenture Match Play Championship in 2010, and Tim Clark started on the back nine. The Englishman has only made one birdie in nine holes but he's built a 3-up lead with pars on Nos. 16, 17 and 18.
In another battle from the Emerald Isle, Graeme McDowell is looking to make short work of Shane Lowry, who upset world No. 1 Rory McIlroy in the first round. He's made four birdies in his first nine holes and is 4 up through 10.
Jason Day is looking to eliminate the highest remaining seed in No. 2 Bubba Watson. The Aussie just won the eighth hole with a birdie and No. 9 with a par to go 3 up.
Webb Simpson birdied the first three holes of his match with Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano but only won one hole. He's just made the turn 3 up, though.
Temps were hovering around freezing early Saturday at Dove Mountain, and the resulting layer of frost caused a 45-minute delay before the round of 16 began.
The eight early matches -- off split tees -- began at 9:55 a.m. ET (7:40 a.m. local time).
For a preview of all eight of Saturday's early matches, click here.
By Fred Albers, PGA TOUR.COM Correspondent
MARANA, Ariz. -- There is a theory on what it takes to win the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. The reasoning dictates a player must win a match he should have lost. There must be a close call, a bullet dodged along the way. If that theory is correct, then consider Bubba Watson. He had a 2 and 1 win against Chris Wood and a 1-up victory over Jim Furyk in 22 holes. I’d say those qualify as “bullets dodged.”
Bubba has been sick since the first week of the year in Maui. He had the flu and barely finished the tournament. Then returned to the mainland and caught a cold. Watson is finally healthy and you can see it in his demeanor. Bubba has been dodging bullets this week but might be ready to fire some bullets of his own this weekend.
By the numbers: Nicolas Colsaerts has played 30 holes of great golf. He has posted a 5 and 4 win against Bill Haas, and backed it up with a 4 and 2 victory over Justin Rose. Colsaerts has missed just two greens the entire tournament going 28 of 30. He had eight birdies in those 30 holes, has hit 17 of 23 fairways and has not been in a single greenside bunker this entire week. Of course, past performance does not guarantee future success, but Colsaerts is worth watching this weekend.
No drop: Jim Furyk was three down to Bubba Watson through 10 holes and rallied to square the match with a birdie on the 18th. They halved the next three holes before Furyk missed the fourth green. The ball settled into a divot right next to a drain. Furyk needed only to slightly widen his stance to be standing on the drain and receive a free drop. It appeared he never considered manufacturing that stance. Furyk played the ball out of the divot; it raced across the green leading to bogey. Watson won the match with a two-putt par.
Colorful: I wonder how many pairs of shoes Ian Poulter brings with him to a tournament? He has worn electric blue and fire engine red shoes the past two days. Of course, the shoes were only part of the ensemble. Poulter had a matching argyle red sweater with maroon shirt and trousers. To complete the sartorial splendor, Poulter rocked a matching lizard belt dyed red. Striking. There was no mistaking the Englishman from distance.
Sickly: Webb Simpson did not want to go extra holes. He needed the match to end on the 18th. Simpson and his entire family have been fighting colds and flu this week. He was visibly fatigued walking the final hole. Simpson mustered up enough strength and concentration to sink a 20-foot birdie putt to win his match with Peter Hanson, 1-up. A double round on Saturday might be trouble for Simpson if the sickness persists.
Putting: I am a big believer in the power of putting during match play. A good putter can carry a player during sketchy rounds when his ball striking is not solid. Consider both Scott Piercy and Robert Garrigus this weekend. They rank second and third in strokes gained-putting. Both players are known for their length off the tee but if both continue to combine that driving with wonderful putting, then both will contend this weekend. Of course, it takes more than just good putting. Luke Donald ranks first in strokes gained-putting and he was eliminated 7 and 6 on Friday, by Scott Piercy.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Peter Hanson came into his match with Webb Simpson having won four of his last five matches at the Accenture Match Play Championship and reaching the quarterfinals last year.
The American hung tough on the back nine Friday, though, and eeked out a win when he made a 17-footer for birdie on the 18th hole. That 1-up advantage marked the only time Simpson had led in the match.
Hanson won two of the first three holes to take a 1-up advantage. Simpson then squared the match with a par at the seventh but Hanson responded by winning the eighth and 10th to carve out a 2-up advantage.
The Swede had take a drop in the desert on the par-5 11th hole and ended up conceding to Simpson there. When the reigning U.S. Open made a 14-footer for birdie at the 12th the match was square again.
Simpson had his troubles on the next par 5 and made bogey to give Hanson back the 1-up lead. But the former Wake Forest All-American squared the match with a par at the 14th hole and halved the next four with three pars and a birdie to set the stage for his heroics at No. 18.
"We went back and forth, it was almost like a boxing match, exchanging punches," said Simpson, who noted he has been sick all week. "But I had a feeling coming down the last couple holes, and we were able to hit some good shots coming in."
SCORECARD STATS: Simpson made four birdies and three bogeys. Hanson made four birdies and three bogeys. There were two other conceded holes, both resulting in Hanson wins.
HOLES WON: Simpson won six holes. Hanson won five holes.
NEXT OPPONENT: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who beat Charles Howell III 6 and 5
MARANA, Ariz. -- For the third time in the last five years of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, the four No. 1 seeds failed to advance past the second round.
On Friday, Luke Donald and Louis Oosthuizen lost their second-round matches. In Thursday's first round, top overall seed Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods were ousted.
In 2009, No. 1 seeds Woods, Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington failed to reach the third round.
In 2010, No. 1 seeds Steve Stricker, Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood and Jim Furyk were done by the second round.
Of the 16 players left this week, there are as many No. 15 and 16 seeds (two) as there are No. 2 and 3 seeds.
Here's a look at the remaining seeds (overall seed in parentheses):
No. 2 seed -- Bubba Watson (8)
No. 3 seed - Ian Poulter (11)
No. 4 seeds - Steve Stricker (14), Webb Simpson (15)
No. 5 seed - Graeme McDowell (17)
No. 6 seed -- Matt Kuchar (21), Hunter Mahan (23)
No. 7 seed - Martin Kaymer (26)
No. 8 seed -- Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (31)
No. 9 seeds - Scott Piercy (35), Robert Garrigus (36)
No. 10 seed - Nicolas Colsaerts (37)
No. 11 seed - Jason Day (41)
No. 12 seed - Fredrik Jacobson (45)
No. 15 seed - Tim Clark (59)
No. 16 seed - Shane Lowry (64)
MARANA, Ariz. -- This match was extremely well-played and it seemed somewhat fitting that neither Graeme McDowell nor Alexander Noren held more than a 1-up advantage.
The two exhanged wins with birdies on the first three holes before McDowell squared the match with a par at No. 4. The Northern Irishman won the sixth hole when he drained a 24-footer for birdie to go 1 up and held that lead until he made double bogey at the par-5 13th -- finding the greenside bunker, the desert, where he had to take a drop, and another bunker on the way to that 7.
The 2010 U.S. Open champion was able to shake off that frustration, though, when he birdied No. 14 but Noren answered with one of his own to square the match on the next hole. The Swede then rolled in a 7-footer for birdie to take just his second lead of the day at No. 17 but McDowell sent the match to extra holes with his clutch 4-footer at the 18th.
Noren got up and down from beside the green on the first extra hole to halve with McDowell who two-putted for par from 33 feet.
The Northern Irishman then polished Noren off with a 7-foot birdie putt on the 20th hole after the Swede couldn't capitalize despite getting a free drop in the desert when a TV tower was in his line of sight.
"I hit it inside him most of the day, but he was really hot with the putter, made everything he looked at pretty much and hit a lot of great shots," McDowell said. "It was a tough game. I had to play decent just to hang onto him."
SCORECARD STATS: McDowell made seven birdies and one double bogey in 20 holes. Noren made six birdies and three bogeys.
HOLES WON: McDowell won six holes. Noren won five holes.
NEXT OPPONENT: Shane Lowry, who beat Carl Pettersson 6 and 5.
MARANA, Ariz. -- After a short match in the first round, Steve Stricker needed extra holes on Friday. Three extra holes, to be exact.
Stricker, the 2001 Accenture Match Play champ, outlasted fellow American Nick Watney in 21 holes to advance to the third round for the fourth time in 11 starts in this event.
Stricker played bogey-free golf for his final 13 holes. Watney carded just two bogeys, both coming in the first three holes of the match before he ran off a string of 18 bogey-free holes.
"It was a good hard-fought match," said Stricker, who needed just 14 holes to beat David Toms in the first round. "I knew it would be tough to finish him off."
Watney was 2 down after 13 but produced four birdies in his next five holes to square the match going into the 18th hole. For the round, he hit 71 percent of his greens and 81 percent of his fairways.
After halving three consecutive holes, including the first two playoff holes, Stricker won the match at the par-3 third with a brilliant tee shot to within 6 feet. Meanwhile, Watney found the greenside bunker and pitched out to 11 feet before conceding the hole and the match.
"I feel fortunate to get through," Stricker said. "Any one of those extra holes could've gone either way."
SCORECARD STATS: Stricker carded seven birdies and one bogey. Watney carded one eagle, five birdies and two bogeys.
HOLES WON: Stricker won five holes. Watney won three holes.
NEXT OPPONENT: Stricker plays Scott Piercy in the third round of the Snead bracket.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Bubba Watson was in control for the first 10 holes, building a 3-up advantage. Jim Furyk staged a rally on the back nine, thouugh, and held steady until he couldn't get up and down the 22nd hole.
The reigning Masters champ struck quickly, winning the second with a birdie and the fourth with a par. Furyk made a 3-footer for birdie at the par-5 eighth to briefly cut into that lead but Watson got it back -- and then some -- when he won the next two holes with a par and a 20-foot birdie.
Furyk, a crowd favorite who played his college golf at nearby Arizona, won three of the next four holes with a 16-footer for birdie and two pars to even the match at the 14th hole. A birdie at the 15th hole put Watson up again but Furyk made a last-ditch 5-footer at the 18th hole to square the proceedings and extend the match. Both men had their chances in sudden death, too.
Watson missed a 5-footer on the first extra hole that would have given him the victory, then the two halved the next, the par-5 second, with birdies. Furyk couldn't convert an 11-footer at the third that would have given him the win after Watson missed the green, but the tables were turned on the 22nd hole where Furyk pitched to 23 feet and couldn't make the putt for par.
"It was a good match," Watson said. "I was up early. He made some putts, he missed some putts. And then on 18, I hit a good shot in there and he topped me, and I missed my putt.
"Struggled on 3, the third extra playoff hole, somehow made a 10-footer, 12 footer and just kind of hung on. That's all I did is I hit quality iron shots it seems like all day, but I just didn't make the putts, but somehow hung on to win."
SCORECARD STATS: Watson made four birdies, two bogeys and one double bogey. Furyk made four birdies, three bogeys and one double bogey. Interestingly, the double bogeys came on the same hole so it was no harm, no foul.
HOLES WON: Watson won six holes. Furyk won five holes.
NEXT OPPONENT: Jason Day, who beat Russell Henley in 19 holes.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Charles Howell III knocked out Tiger Woods on Thursday. CH3 then proceeded to get knocked out by Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano in Friday's second round.
Howell couldn't summon the magic that he displayed in outdueling Woods in the first round. After playing a bogey-free 4 under to beat Tiger, Howell failed to produce a birdie in a 2-over round through 13 holes.
Meanwhile, Fernandez-Castano -- who earlier in the day completed his first-round win over Francesco Molinari -- never trailed as he posted a bogey-free 5 under. He won the first two holes and was 4 up through eight. He finished off Howell with his final birdie of the day at the par-5 13th.
Fernandez-Castano has seven birdies in the first two rounds against just one bogey. He's hit 74 percent of his greens and 88 percent of his fairways.
SCORECARD STATS: Fernandez-Castano carded five birdies and no bogeys. Howell carded two bogeys and no birdies.
HOLES WON: Fernandez-Castano won five holes. Howell did not win a hole.
NEXT OPPONENT: Fernandez-Castano plays the Webb Simpson-Peter Hanson winner in the third round of the Player bracket.