Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Westwood eases into quarter-finals

Lee Westwood

Revenge was sweet for Lee Westwood today as he breezed into the quarter-finals of the Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson.

Beaten the past two years by Nick Watney - conqueror of Tiger Woods in the second round - Westwood birdied the first two holes and ran out a comfortable 3&2 winner. It was the first time in 12 attempts that the Worksop golfer had made it into the last 16, but he looks in the mood to go much further.

Victory on Sunday would put him back as world number one ahead of Luke Donald and so far he has repeated Donald's feat in winning 12 months ago, never trailing in any game and never being taken to the final hole either.

After his fast start he went three-up when Watney missed the green at the ninth and failed to get up and down, then stretched the gap to four by almost holing his approach to the next.

Westwood was bunkered on the 12th and lost it to a par three, but he did wonderfully well to halve the 583-yard 13th in birdies after his chip hit the hole and rolled 10 feet away.

Westwood knew from the start he would be facing a Scot next if he won - and it looked like being Martin Laird rather than Paul Lawrie. With three to play US-based Laird was two-up.

Former Open champion Lawrie had gone all 18 holes before beating Justin Rose and Ryo Ishikawa, but was in trouble from the moment he bogeyed the first and Laird birdied the long second.

Lawrie almost holed his second to the fifth and halved his deficit, but after looking favourite to win the eighth after their drives he lost it after Laird hit a superb third from the edge of the desert scrub to four feet and then saw his opponent chip over the green.

Laird stretched his advantage "against the head" at the short 12th, holing from seven feet and seeing the Aberdeen 43-year-old miss from five, but Lawrie's two-putt birdie on the next brought him back to two down.

Rory McIlroy, who will go to world number one for the first time in his career if he lifts the title, turned three-up against 48-year-old Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez after some dazzling iron play.

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