Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

McIlroy continues push for top spot

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy still have a chance to go to world number one this weekend - and they do not have to beat Tiger Woods to get there.

Woods missed a six-foot birdie putt on the final green to lose to fellow American Nick Watney in the second round of the Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson.

That meant Westwood avoided a clash with the 14-time major champion, but in Watney he is up against the player who has knocked him out the last two years.

"It's a chance to get revenge," said England's third seed, through to the last 16 for the first time in 12 attempts after wins over Nicolas Colsaerts and Robert Karlsson so far.

McIlroy, meanwhile, faces Miguel Angel Jimenez, while Scots Paul Lawrie and Martin Laird go head to head for a place in the quarter-finals.

It is the fourth season in a row that Friday onwards will be a Tiger-free zone at the World Golf Championship event.

He went out to Thomas Bjorn on the opening day last year, did not play in 2010 following his sex scandal and was sent packing by Tim Clark in the second round the previous February.

"I had an opportunity, but something I fought all day was blocking my putts and I blocked that one (at 18)," said a disappointed Woods, who will have to try to hit back at next week's Honda Classic close to his new Florida home.

Watney commented "he didn't putt like we are all used to seeing him putt", but the truth is that it is becoming a more common sight recently.

Second seed McIlroy has so far taken care of South African George Coetzee and Dane Anders Hansen and he is the only current major champion left in.

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