February 24 2012
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
MARANA, Ariz. – Matt Kuchar closed out his match with Martin Kaymer on the 15th hole but played more golf, finishing holes 16, 17 and 18.
It's the player's right to continue practicing if he does not interrupt the competition and Kuchar figured a little more experience might come in handy on Saturday when he plays Hunter Mahan.
Ball toss: Mahan threw nine birdies on the card in 15 holes against Steve Stricker during a 4 and 3 victory. Stricker battled but realized his fate was sealed on the 12th hole when Mahan dropped a 54-foot birdie putt. Stricker walked to the cup, pulled out the ball, showed it to Mahan and then tossed it into the stands. The two players shared a laugh as Stricker said he wasn't going to let that ball do any more damage to him during the round.
Outdriven, not outscored: Mark Wilson said, "nobody picked me to win today." There was a reason for the oddsmakers to select Dustin Johnson to win their match. Wilson averaged 295 yards off the tee while Johnson hits his drives 312 yards. Despite giving up an average of 17 yards per hole, Wilson won the match 4 and 3. "I knew coming in that I was going to be outdriven, but Dustin did not have his best stuff today and put a couple balls in the desert." Short and straight is still better than long and crocked.
Translation: Sang-moon Bae has an unusual relationship with his caddie. Akira Yomane works for the PGA TOUR rookie but there is a language difference -- Yomane speaks only Japanese while Bae is Korean. No problem, it turns out Moon is fluent in both Korean and Japanese so the two get along just fine on the course with all the conversation in Japanese.
An easy 5-iron: The 16th hole played 247 yards in the third round and was slightly into the wind. Alan Bond and Martin Laird discussed club selection and finally made the decision when Bond suggested it was an "easy 5." An easy 5? Since when did 247 yards become an easy 5-iron? Laird's 5 iron flew 231 yards and just caught the lip of the front bunker. He still made par and closed out Paul Lawrie 3 and 1. Maybe Laird will hit a three-quarter 5-iron from 247 next time.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio and is inside the ropes this week at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.