By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MARANA, Ariz. -- Robert Garrigus came to Dove Mountain to play in his first Accenture Match Play Championship brimming with confidence.
Matt Kuchar, though, had the experience and his steady game won out over the go-for-broke-style of Garrigus.
Kuchar never trailed in this quarterfinal match, winning the second hole with a 4-foot birdie after Garrigus missed from 6 feet. He went 2-up when Garrigus made bogey at the third hole but Kuchar did the same at the fourth.
Kuchar's birdies at the sixth and ninth holes gave him a 3-up advantage at the turn and he went one better at No. 10 when Garrigus made bogey. But Garrigus won the 12th hole with a par when Kuchar couldn't get up and down from the greenside bunker and the 13th with a 25-inch birdie putt to claw his way back into the match.
Kuchar then made a 4-footer for birdie at the 15th hole to get back to 3 up, and the win was assured when the two men halved the 16th with pars.
Kuchar has lost to the eventual champ last two years -- bowing to Luke Donald in the 2011 semifinals and Hunter Mahan in the quarters last year. He has a 13-3 record at this event.
"It's nice to be still alive and playing tomorrow," Kuchar said. "Robert today gave me a couple holes early. I got off to a nice lead and then I stumbled a little bit there kind of three-quarters into the round and kind of felt like we were back in a battle again.
"I was pretty excited to hit some good shots on 14, 15 and 16 to be able to close him out and be able to hopefully go home soon and get some rest."
Garrigus said he thought he lose focus in the afternoon match after beating Freddie Jacobson 3 and 2 in the morning. His left wrist also locked up on him on the first hole.
"I still had a chance with making all those bad swings and hitting it in the bushes three or four times," he said. "If I kept it in the fairway in the afternoon, I would have been fine, but I kept hitting it in the darned desert.
"It was disappointing to lose the match, but all in all, it was a great week. Another top five in front of the stage that I wanted it in front of. It's not in Puerto Rico or México, this is a World Golf Championships, and it's all good things. I played well, Matt played well, we had a good time today, and that's about it."
SCORECARD STATS: Matt Kuchar made five birdies and three bogeys. Garrigus made three birdies, three bogeys and one double bogey.
HOLES WON: Kuchar won six holes. Garrigus won three holes
NEXT OPPONENT: Kuchar plays Jason Day, who beat Graeme McDowell 1-up in the quarterfinals.