Marana, AZ (Sports Network) - While the three remaining No. 1 seeds advanced on Thursday, Tiger Woods, a three-time winner, was eliminated in round two of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Woods struggled all day Thursday with the putter, but he had a chance to force extra holes against Nick Watney, who was 1-up when his approach at the 18th at Ritz Carlton Golf Club rolled off the back.
Woods hit a spectacular nine-iron to six feet and, after Watney missed his chip, Woods needed to make the birdie putt to square the match and go to extra holes.
It's become expected for Woods to make those kind of putts in that theater, but his six-footer moved right and Woods lost, 1-down.
"I had an opportunity to force an extra (hole)," Woods said in a televised interview. "Something I fought all day was blocking my putts and I blocked that one right there."
Woods, the fifth seed in the Snead bracket, made his second early exit at this championship in as many years. He was knocked out by Thomas Bjorn in the first round last year and Woods will be off to the Honda Classic next week.
As for Watney, the No. 4 seed, he survived, despite some loose shots late. His tee ball at 16 air-mailed the green and landed on a porch of a corporate tent. But Watney advanced, and was surprised he did it in regulation.
"We all know that Tiger makes those," a clearly surprised Watney told Golf Channel. "I feel fortunate, but at the same time I'm very excited to move on. I'm definitely in a little bit of shock."
Watney will face No. 1 seed Lee Westwood in Friday's third round. Westwood, who's never advanced this far in his career, will have some revenge on his mind as Watney has eliminated him the last two years.
The other two remaining No. 1 seeds moved on Friday after overall No. 1 seed and last year's winner, Luke Donald was taken out in Wednesday's first round.
Rory McIlroy, the top player in the Gary Player bracket, handled Anders Hansen, 3 & 2, Thursday.
Martin Kaymer, who lost to Donald in the final a year ago en route to the No. 1 ranking in the world, beat David Toms 2-up in the Ben Hogan bracket.
In the Bobby Jones bracket, where Donald was the No. 1 seed, Dustin Johnson, the third seed, is the highest-ranked player left. He trounced Francesco Molinari, 7 & 5, and will face 10th-ranked Mark Wilson, a 3 & 2 winner over Robert Rock on Thursday.
Peter Hanson, the nine seed in the Jones bracket, had an easy time knocking off Ernie Els, who beat Donald on Wednesday. Hanson toppled Els 5 & 4, and drew Brandt Snedeker in the third round after Snedeker once again bested Kyle Stanley. Snedeker, the No. 5 seed, beat Stanley in a playoff earlier this year at Farmers Insurance Open, and on Thursday, won, 2 & 1.
McIlroy didn't hit the ball great against Hansen, but his short game was outstanding. After an errant approach into the desert at 14, McIlroy chopped out, then holed his fourth for par and the win.
Two more good up-and-downs at 15 and 16 moved McIlroy into the third round.
"I haven't felt like I've had my best stuff the last couple days, but I've got through two matches, which is great, and I'm looking forward to playing tomorrow," said McIlroy, who can move to No. 1 in the world with a high finish this week.
McIlroy will meet his Ryder Cup teammate Miguel Angel Jimenez. The Spaniard, and oldest player in the field at 48, closed the door on reigning PGA Champion Keegan Bradley, 2 & 1.
The bottom half of the Player bracket features two long-shots. John Senden, ranked 10th, crushed No. 2 Jason Day, 6 & 5, Thursday and will take on Sang- Moon Bae Friday. Bae defeated Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, 1-up.
Kaymer never trailed against No. 8 Toms. Last year's runner-up captured the par-five 11th with a birdie and that was enough to hang on for the victory. He won the 18th for the 2-up victory.
Kaymer will meet fourth-seeded Matt Kuchar, who finished third in 2011. Kuchar dispatched No. 5 Bubba Watson, 3 & 2, Thursday, in a repeat of last year's consolation match.
Steve Stricker, the second seed in the Hogan bracket, holed a 20-footer for birdie on the 18th to knock off former Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen, 1-up. Stricker, who celebrated his 45th birthday Thursday, drew Hunter Mahan in the third round after the six seed hammered former PGA Champion Y.E. Yang, 5 & 3.
NOTES: Seven Americans advanced to the third round...The third round will be on Friday, followed by the quarterfinals on Saturday and the semifinals and final on tap for Sunday.
Watch coverage of the Match Play Championship this weekend on Channel 2 and NBC. Coverage runs from 2-6:00 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
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