sport

Poulter eases into last eight

Ian Poulter eased into the last eight of the Accenture Match Play Championship after a 5&3 victory over Tim Clark in the last 16 on Saturday.

Poulter, who won this tournament in 2010, started on the back nine and moved 3-up by the turn despite managing just one birdie.

Pars at the 16th, 17th and 18th were sufficient for Poulter to take charge as Clark delivered a hat-trick of bogeys.

A par at the third had Poulter further in command while a birdie at the sixth - the first time in the round that the 37-year-old was required to go under par to win a hole - saw him to a routine win.

Robert Garrigus earlier became the first player to book his place in the quarter-finals after defeating Fredrik Jacobson 3&1.

American Garrigus, 35, is making his first appearance at the event in Arizona and kept himself on course for an unlikely triumph as he comfortably saw off his Swedish opponent.

Garrigus and Jacobson were the first players to tee off today after freezing conditions in the early morning forced organisers to delay the start by 45 minutes.

Garrigus won four holes to Jacobson's one over the front nine to build up a commanding advantage, but the Swede roared back after the turn to pull level on the back of birdies at the 11th, 12th and 13th.

Garrigus regrouped, however, a birdie at the 14th followed up by an eagle on the 15th as he wrapped up his win with a hole to spare.

American Hunter Mahan, the reigning Match Play champion, also progressed after a commanding 5&4 win over Germany's Martin Kaymer.

Mahan raced into an early lead, going two up after four holes on the back of two birdies, before further gains at six, seven and eight put him five up and into an advantage he never looked in danger of relinquishing.

Mahan's ninth consecutive match victory at Dove Mountain was completed on the 14th hole as the players traded pars.

Matt Kuchar of the United States also went through after seeing off Nicolas Colsaerts 4&3.

Kuchar enjoyed birdies on three of his first four holes to go two up and he reached the turn three clear of the Belgian.

The pair had a run of pars over the first five holes of the back nine but a birdie for Kuchar at the 15th wrapped up the win.

Shane Lowry's giant-killing run in Arizona is at an end, however, after he fell to a 3&2 loss to fellow Irishman Graeme McDowell.

Lowry created a stir yesterday as the 64th seed dispatched world number one Rory McIlroy in the first round, but he had no answer as he came up against another Northern Irishman today, with McDowell making four birdies to reach the turn four up.

McDowell made no further gains over the back nine, and saw Lowry close the gap by one when he bogeyed the 15th, but it was all over on the next as both men hit pars.

Next up for McDowell is Australia's Jason Day, who is through to the last eight for the second time in three attempts after a 4&3 win over Bubba Watson.

Day made six birdies and nine pars in 15 holes as he won seven holes to Watson's three before his American opponent offered his hand.

Scott Piercy was another giant-killer to bow out in the last 16 as the world number 37 lost by just one stroke in a nail-biter against fellow American Steve Stricker, who hit testing birdies at the last two holes to prevail.

Piercy made headlines yesterday when he crushed third seed and 2011 winner Luke Donald 7&6 but came up short against Stricker, who celebrates his 46th birthday today.

Piercy led by one on three occasions but each time Stricker levelled.

Stricker two-putted the eighth - his 17th - from 33 feet for his first birdie before a 30-footer sealed the victory at the last.

"It was a tough putt," Stricker said on pgatour.com.

"It was downhill, downgrain. I wanted to make sure I had good speed, but I had a pretty good feel for the line. But you don't expect to make a putt like that.

"We both played great, and that's match play. He didn't make a bogey today and neither did I, and neither one of us really deserve to go home."

Webb Simpson was the final player to book his place in the quarter-finals as the American finished two up on Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.

The quarter-final action began almost as quickly as the final last-16 match concluded, with Garrigus against Kuchar the first match on the agenda.

Stricker faces Poulter in the second last-eight tie, while McDowell and Day are third up and Mahan and Simpson meet in the final round of the day.