MARANA, Ariz. -- The marquee match everyone had hoped for materialized on Saturday when top-seeded Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy won their quarterfinal matches.
Adding extra spice to the battle between the world No. 2 from Northern Ireland and his English counterpart, who ranks third, is that the one who emerges victorious could jump to the top of the rankings should he go on to win the Accenture Match Play Championship.
“Walking around the locker room I said I'll see you on the first tee tomorrow morning,” McIlroy said. “Yeah, I think it's the match that most people wanted and definitely the match that I wanted. And I'm excited about tomorrow. It should be a lot of fun and very exciting for everyone involved.”
Standing in the way of either McIlroy or Westwood at Dove Mountain, though, will be an American after Hunter Mahan and Mark Wilson emerged with fourth round wins, as well. Neither trailed in their match and Wilson has not seen the 17th or 18th holes all week.
“I think Mark is going to hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, he's a steady, consistent player,” said Mahan, whose first match went extra holes but the last three have ended by No. 15. “He's playing well now. It would be fun to play against a Ping guy in Arizona. That will be exciting.”
Mahan's 6-and-5 victory over Matt Kuchar was the most lopsided ever in the quarterfinals while Mark Wilson was in control of his 4-and-3 win over Sweden's Peter Hanson. Westwood polished off Martin Laird 4 and 2 Saturday afternoon after McIlroy ended PGA TOUR rookie Sang-moon Bae's surprising run 3 and 2.
The Americans will be first off in their match at 9:05 a.m. ET (7:05 a.m. MT) while McIlroy and Westwood will tee off 15 minutes later. The consolation match will then start at approximately 1:50 p.m. ET (11:50 a.m. MT) with the championship starting at roughly 2:05 p.m. ET (12:05 a.m. MT).