February 24 2012
MARANA, Ariz. -- A couple of players with the opportunity be world No. 1 have made it to the Elite Eight of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood, ranked second and third respectively in the latest Official World Golf Ranking, won their third-round matches on Friday at the Ritz Carlton golf course. They're on a collision course to meet in the semifinals, but first they'll have to get past a couple of double-digit seeds in Saturday’s quarterfinals.
McIlroy, a 3 and 1 winner over Miguel Angel Jimenez, will face the biggest surprise of this week, 11th-seeded Sang-moon Bae. The PGA TOUR rookie beat Australia's John Senden 1 up and becomes just the third Korean to reach the quarterfinals in this event.
Westwood, a 3 and 2 winner over Nick Watney, will face 10th-seeded Martin Laird. The Scot beat countryman Paul Lawrie 3 and 1.
Westwood, who spent 22 weeks at No. 1 starting late in 2010, said being No. 1 in the world is not his top priority but that “I’d be lying if I didn’t say every guy playing this week wants to be No. 1 in the world. It means you’re playing well, for starters.”
There's another double-digit seed in the final eight, as 10th-seeded Mark Wilson knocked off Dustin Johnson for the second straight year, this time 4 and 3. Wilson will face 9th seed Peter Hanson, who beat Brandt Snedeker 5 and 3.
The other quarterfinal match involves two Americans -- Hunter Mahan, a 4 and 3 winner over Steve Stricker, against Matt Kuchar, also a 4 and 3 winner over Martin Kaymer.
SATURDAY’S QUARTERFINALS (All times ET)
|12:05 p.m.||Peter Hanson||vs.||Mark Wilson|
|12:20 p.m.||Matt Kuchar||vs.||Hunter Mahan|
|2:05 p.m.||Rory McIlroy||vs.||Sang-moon Bae|
|2:20 p.m.||Lee Westwood||vs.||Martin Laird|