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WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship 2014: Daily Leaderboard Updates, Analysis

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IFebruary 20, 2014

WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship 2014: Daily Leaderboard Updates, Analysis

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    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    The 2014 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship kicked off on Wednesday, with 64 of the world's top golfers hitting the course at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain.

    Every day is elimination day for the golfers during this extended weekend. From a field of 64, only two will be left standing on Sunday for the final.

    Matt Kuchar is the defending champion. He beat Hunter Mahan—the 2012 champion—in the final match and is one of the top favorites to win the tournament again this year. 

    As a player who's shown an aptitude for match-play events with a career record of 15-5, Mahan is an authority on this format, which he enjoys.

    "It's somewhat refreshing a little bit to play in match play because you can kind of just lay it all out there every single match," Mahan said last year, via Brian Wacker of WorldGolfChampionships.com. "It's not like another tournament where it's one day after the next. You're just kind of in the moment so much."

    Every shot matters, as does every hole. Instead of the usual marathon a four-round stroke-play tournament features, every match is a sprint to the finish line. 

    Keep reading to find out how the tournament unfolds.

Day 5 Results and Recap

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    Two rounds of action were needed on Sunday to close out the action at Dove Mountain, and then a few more holes besides. 

    Before the winner could be determined, two semifinals matches were contested. Once those matches were concluded, then the winners duked it out in the Championship Match, while the losers were relegated to the Third-Place Match. 

    Here's a look at the results:

     

    Semifinal Matches

    WinnerLoserScore
    Jason DayRickie Fowler3 and 2
    Victor DubuissonErnie Els1 up

     

    Final Matches

    WinnerLoserScore
    Jason Day*Victor Dubuisson1 up, 23 holes
    Rickie FowlerErnie Els 1 up, 19 holes 

    Note: * notes tournament winner. 

     

    Recap

    Jason Day had little trouble dispatching Rickie Fowler to advance to the Championship Match, winning 3 and 2 early Sunday morning. 

    Here's a nice shot of the eventual champ doing a most-match interview, courtesy of Sky Sports Golf:

    Jason Day being interviewed by Tim Barter after his 3&2 win over Rickie Fowler. Day will play Dubuisson in the final. pic.twitter.com/mkNAhyY54r

    — Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) February 23, 2014

    Fowler kept things interesting, but Day's consistency down the stretch won the match. 

    "Rickie's playing great golf right now, and I just thought if I gave him that little bit of an inch to move in he was going to knock the door down," Day said in a post-match interview with Golf Channel, via GolfWeek.com. "So I was just trying to hang tough, and my game was solid today. Hopefully I can take it into the final."

    Ernie Els had been playing excellent golf all weekend long, but he was knocked off in the second semifinal match by surprising Frenchman, Victor Dubuisson.

    The match went down to the wire, as relayed by Golf Channel, with Dubuisson winning 1 up:

    Right to the end. Victor Dubuisson def Ernie Els 1UP. #WGCMatchPlay Championship: (2) Day vs (7) Dubuisson

    — Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) February 23, 2014

    With Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson absent at this tournament, the unexpected show put on by Dubuisson was a welcome development, as pointed out by Mike Beauregard:

    France's Victor Dubuisson the surprise golf story in Tucson. Just what CBS needed with Tiger and Phil absent.

    — Mike Beauregard (@mike_beauregard) February 23, 2014

    Unfortunately, Dubuisson's run of wins was stymied by the red-hot Day, who kept his foot on the gas pedal throughout the final match, winning the tournament with a 2 and 1 win over the French golfer.

    Day went up by two holes right away, winning both of the first two with birdies while Dubuisson scored bogey on both. The Frenchman came right back with two wins of his own to even things up on the next two holes, but then Day came on strong again, winning three of the next four holes.

    Dubuisson wouldn't be brushed aside, however. 

    Down two holes with two to play, he made an extraordinary birdie after hitting it in the sand off the tee on No. 17 to stay alive, as pointed out by Martin Blake, sending the match to No. 18 with the tournament on the line:

    Magnifique up and down from 177 for Dubuisson. Extends it to the 18th. Day is one up. A half at 18 will do it for @JDayGolf in #WGCmatchplay

    — Martin Blake (@martinj_blake) February 23, 2014

    Dubuisson forced extra holes by winning the 18th with a par, and then he put on one of the most incredible displays of recovery golf fans have seen in a long, long time on the next three holes, hanging in the match with incredible flair.

    After five long playoff holes, Day finally came through with the victory by making birdie on the 23rd hold of the match. 

    Els was unable to regain his momentum after losing to Dubuisson in the semifinal. 

    Rickie Fowler jumped out to an early 2-up lead after five holes, but Els came charging back, winning four of the next seven holes to go up by two holes. However, Fowler got hot again and won three of the next five holes to go up by one heading into No. 18.

    Els dug deep and tied things up by winning the final hole, but in the end Fowler was just too hot, and he won on the 19th hole of competition, earning the bronze medal, as Rex Hoggard of the Golf Channel amusingly quipped:

    Rickie Fowler takes bronze, eh . . . third place, with his win over Ernie Els in the consolation match. #MatchPlay

    — Rex Hoggard (@RexHoggardGC) February 23, 2014

    It was an amazing weekend of golf, but like all good things, the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship has come to an end. 

    It's not surprising that Day emerged as the champion. He's been one of the top players on tour for a few years now, and nobody should be surprised if he starts winning more often. 

    There's only a couple of months of golf between now and the 2014 Masters, so all the world's top golfers will attempt to get their games into shape for that ultimate test. 

Day 4 Results and Recap

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    The semifinals of are finally set after Day 4's action at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship as we saw many of the world's biggest names in golf square off and play some exciting rounds.

    Eight golfers entered, but only four emerged still in the hunt for the title. Let's take a look at who made it and who failed to.

     

    Bobby Jones Bracket

    WinnerLoserScore
    Jason Day (2)Louis Oosthuizen (8)2 and 1

     

    Ben Hogan Bracket

    WinnerLoserScore
    Rickie Fowler (14)Jim Furyk1 up

     

    Gary Player Bracket

    WinnerLoserScore
    Ernie Els (8)Jordan Spieth (3)4 and 2

     

    Sam Snead Bracket

    WinnerLoserScore
    Victor Dubuisson (7))Graeme McDowell (4)1 up

     

    Day 4 Recap

    Jason Day advanced to the semifinal round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship for the second straight year on Saturday, beating Louis Oosthuizen, 2 and 1. 

    After earning the win of the Bobby Jones bracket in exciting fashion, Day will go up against Rickie Fowler in the semifinal round. Fowler won the Ben Hogan bracket with his 1-up victory over Jim Furyk on Saturday.

    On the other side of the bracket, Ernie Els proved that experience trumps youth—at least this time around—with his victory over Jordan Spieth.

    The 20-year-old Spieth is one of the top young players in the world, but the 44-year-old Els has still got it.

    With Victor Dubuisson's victory over Graeme McDowell, it was assured that it would be an otherwise young group of players competing in the Match Play Championship semifinal round. Day is 26, Fowler is 25 and Dubuisson is just 23. 

    It's been an exciting tournament thus far at the Accenture Match Play Championship, with the only downside being that it is nearing completion.

    With only two rounds left, though, the best play should be yet to come.

Day 3 Results and Recap

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The Sweet 16 at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship featured quite a few big names and as a result some exciting matchups. However, only eight of them were able to advance to the next round.

    As a result, eight talented players, including a few former major winners, were forced to go home earlier than expected.

    Here is a look at the results from Day 3 at the exciting tournament. 

     

    Bobby Jones Bracket

    WinnerLoserScore
    Louis Oosthuizen (8)Webb Simpson (5)5 and 4
    Jason Day (2)George Coetzee (14)3 and 1

     

    Ben Hogan Bracket

    WinnerLoserScore
    Jim Furyk (5)Harris English (9)1-up
    Rickie Fowler (14)Sergio Garcia (2)1-up

     

    Gary Player Bracket

    WinnerLoserScore
    Jordan Spieth (3)Matt Kuchar (2)2 and 1 
    Ernie Els (8)Jason Dufner (4)1-up 

     

    Sam Snead Bracket

    WinnerLoserScore
    Graeme McDowell (4)Hunter Mahan (8)1-up in 21 holes
    Victor Dubuisson (7)Bubba Watson (3)1-up

     

    Day 3 Recap

    No one was more dominant on Day 3 than Louis Oosthuizen. In a battle of former major winners, Webb Simpson simply could not keep up with his counterpart.

    Starting in hole No. 6, Oosthuizen won six holes and halved the others to ensure a 5 and 4 win to get the first spot in the quarterfinals. Jason Sobel of Golf Channel discussed the South African's inconsistency:

    Whenever Louis Oosthuizen plays really well, he owns the world's greatest swing. And when he doesn't, everyone completely forgets about him.

    — Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) February 21, 2014

    However, he was golden on Friday to become one of the favorites in this tournament.

    He will face Jason Day, who had little trouble with No. 14 seed George Coetzee.

    In the Ben Hogan bracket, Rickie Fowler stayed alive with an upset win over Sergio Garcia. The No. 14 seed is the lowest seed remaining in the event, but he did get the advantage thanks to an interesting decision by Garcia, as explained by Shane Bacon of Yahoo!:

    Sergio just went good-good about half the distance Fowler had. Garcia's putt is top picture. pic.twitter.com/ayFuFgP4Uq

    — Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) February 21, 2014

    There is likely to be some regret because it could have been him facing Jim Furyk in the quarterfinals.

    On the other side of the bracket, Victor Dubuisson pulled off a significant upset against Bubba Watson. The French youngster took the lead on the first hole and then never gave it up, holding on late for a 1-up win.

    This was not as good of a matchup as the one between Graeme McDowell and Hunter Mahan, which went 21 holes before McDowell could come away with a victory. 

    The defending champion also went down on Friday as Matt Kuchar could not keep up with rising star Jordan Spieth. The 20-year-old golfer earned a 2 and 1 win and will now face veteran Ernie Els, who needed a birdie on the final hole to come away with a win over Jason Dufner.

    Amazingly, Spieth is the second-highest seed remaining behind No. 2 Jason Day, but there are plenty of big names available to create an exciting weekend of golf ahead.

Day 2 Results and Recap

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    With the field cut down to just 16 matches on Day 2 of the WGC-Accenture Match Play tournament, quite a few favorite continued on to the next round. Though there weren't many upsets to speak of, the ones that did take place were especially surprising.

    Here's a look at the results followed by a breakdown of the more intriguing matches.

     

    Bobby Jones Bracket

    WinnerLoserScore
    Louis Oosthuizen (8)Henrik Stenson (1)4 and 3
    Jason Day (2)Billy Horschel (10)22 holes
    Webb Simpson (5)Brandt Snedeker (4)4 and 3
    George Coetzee (14)Patrick Reed (11)21 holes

     

    Ben Hogan Bracket

    WinnerLoserScore
    Harris English (9)Rory McIlroy (1)19 holes
    Sergio Garcia (2)Bill Haas (7)3 and 1
    Jim Furyk (5)Charl Schwartzel (4)3 and 2
    Rickie Fowler (14)Jimmy Walker (6)1 up

     

    Gary Player Bracket

    WinnerLoserScore
    Ernie Els (8)Justin Rose (1)1 up - 20 holes
    Matt Kuchar (2)Ryan Moore (7)1 up
    Jordan Spieth (3)Thomas Bjorn (6)5 and 4
    Jason Dufner (4)Matteo Manassero (12)2 and 1

     

    Sam Snead Bracket

    WinnerLoserScore
    Bubba Watson (3)Jonas Blixt (11)2 up
    Graeme McDowell (4)Hideki Matsuyama (5)1 up
    Victor Dubuisson (7)Peter Hanson (15)3 and 1
    Hunter Mahan (8)Richard Sterne (16)2 up

     

    Day 2 Recap

    In one of the biggest upsets of the tournament, Rory McIlroy lost in a tight match with Harris English.

    The 24-year-old golfer hasn't been playing his best golf as of late, but still came in as the No. 1 seed into the match play tournament. The match came down to the wire, but McIroy couldn't come away with the big shots he needed.

    In fact, one actually took out a fan, who fell into a cactus. The PGA Tour provides a video of the incident in its entirety. Following the match, English took to Twitter to give his thoughts:

    Awesome match with Rory today..a grind until the very end. Such a genuine guy and fierce competitor. Very fortunate to be moving on!

    — Harris English (@Harris_English) February 21, 2014

    Along with McIlroy's disappointing loss, Henrik Stenson also went down in a 4 and 3 loss to Louis Oosthuizen as the No. 1 seed in his bracket.

    The loss was a little easier to take for Stenson as Oosthuizen is the 2010 Open Champion and a former No. 4 golfer in the world. The South African has had spurts of great play and showed his brilliance against Stenson on Day 2.

    Stenson dropping his second round match had an impact on other players heading into the first major tournament of the year, as Benjamin Everill of the Associated Press reports:

    Todays loss by @henrikstenson ensures Adam Scott returns to @pgatour next week as World No.2.

    — Benjamin Everill (@beneverill) February 21, 2014

    Along with the two major upsets of the day, Rickie Fowler also pulled off a mild upset of Jimmy Walker as the No. 14 seed over the No. 6 seed.

    Jason Day and Sergio Garcia continued on in the tournament in both of their brackets as the highest seeds after both Stenson and McIlroy took losses. In the Gary Player Bracket, all four of the top seeds advanced.

    As for Bubba Watson, his great play continued and could bein  line for yet another tournament after winning the Northern Trust tournament.

Day 1 Results and Recap

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    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    There were a few big upsets in the first day of action at Dove Mountain, but most of the top seeds advanced. Here's a look at the results from Wednesday's 32 matches, courtesy of ESPN.com, followed by a closer look at how the day unfolded:

     

    Bobby Jones Bracket

    WinnerLoserScore
    Henrik Stenson (1)Kiradech Aphibarnrat (16)2 and 1 
    Jason Day (2)Thorbjorn Olesen (15)2 up
    George Coetzee (14)Steve Stricker (3)3 and 1
    Brandt Snedeker (4)David Lynn (13) 1 up, 20 holes 
    Webb Simpson (5)Thongchai Jaidee (12)3 and 2
    Patrick Reed (11)Graham DeLaet (6)1 up
    Billy Horschel (10)Jamie Donaldson (7)6 and 5
    Louis Oosthuizen (8)Nick Watney (9)1 up

     

    Ben Hogan Bracket

    WinnerLoserScore
    Rory McIlroy (1)Boo Weekley (16)3 and 2
    Sergio Garcia (2)Marc Leishman (15)1 up, 22 holes
    Rickie Fowler (14)Ian Poulter (3)2 and 1
    Charl Schwartzel (4)Kevin Stadler (13)3 and 2
    Jim Furyk (5)Chris Kirk (12)2 and 1
    Jimmy Walker (6)Branden Grace (11)5 and 4
    Bill Haas (7)Miguel Angel Jimenez (10)4 and 3
    Harris English (9)Lee Westwood (8)5 and 3

     

    Gary Player Bracket

    WinnerLoserScore
    Justin Rose (1)Scott Piercy (16) 1 up 
    Matt Kuchar (2)Bernd Wiesberger (15)3 and 2
    Jordan Spieth (3)Pablo Larrazabal (14)2 up
    Jason Dufner (4)Scott Stallings (13) 1 up, 19 holes 
    Matteo Manassero (12)Luke Donald (5)5 and 4
    Thomas Bjorn (6)Francesco Molinari (11)2 and 1
    Ryan Moore (7)Joost Luiten (10)1 up, 22 holes
    Ernie Els (8)Stephen Gallacher (9) 1 up, 19 holes 

     

    Sam Snead Bracket

    WinnerLoserScore
    Richard Sterne (16)Zach Johnson (1)5 and 4
    Peter Hanson (15)Dustin Johnson (2)4 and 3
    Bubba Watson (3)Mikko Ilonen (14)2 and 1
    Graeme McDowell (4)Gary Woodland (13)1 up, 19 holes
    Hideki Matsuyama (5)Martin Kaymer (12)2 and 1
    Jonas Blixt (11)Keegan Bradley (6)2 and 1
    Victor Dubuisson (7)Kevin Streelman (10)5 and 4
    Hunter Mahan (8)Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (9) 3 and 2 

     

    Day 1 Recap

    The Sam Snead bracket saw both of its top two seeds get ousted on Wednesday, setting up an interesting draw the rest of the way. 

    Zach and Dustin Johnson (not related) both lost badly to Richard Sterne and Peter Hanson, who advanced into the next round. 

    For Johnson, he's the first top seed to exit the tournament, as pointed out by Kelly Tilghman of the Golf Channel:

    Zach Johnson is first 1 seed to go down in the Accenture Match Play Championship. Loses to Richard Sterne 5&4

    — Kelly Tilghman (@KellyTilghmanGC) February 19, 2014

    The No. 3 seed in the Ben Hogan bracket, Ian Poulter was also taken down on Wednesday, causing Tilghman to lament her busted bracket:

    Ian Poulter out, so much for experience. Dustin Johnson out, so much for being on form. Graham DeLaet out, so much for my bracket.

    — Kelly Tilghman (@KellyTilghmanGC) February 19, 2014

    Luke Donald was also ousted, as was Keegan Bradley, Steve Stricker and Graham DeLaet, who took to Twitter to show his appreciation to his supporters:

    I wish it could've lasted a little longer but good times playing match play. Played solid today but not quite enough. Thanks for the support

    — Graham DeLaet (@GrahamDeLaet) February 19, 2014

    There was plenty of excellent golf to go around, however, and most of the top seeds advanced.

    One of them was Rory McIlroy, who beat Boo Weekley to advance. However, he was also responsible for one of the most hilarious/painful moments of the afternoon. 

    Hitting out of the desert sand, McIlroy's shot hit a spectator attempting to take a photo with his camera, knocking said spectator into a cactus. It wasn't pretty, and the poor guy needed plenty of help to get the pieces of cactus off him, as shown by Tilghman:

    Spectator at Match Play getting in field cactus surgery (yes those are knives) after McIlroy hits errant shot pic.twitter.com/BE8nsUolBf

    — Kelly Tilghman (@KellyTilghmanGC) February 19, 2014

    Jordan Spieth, the spectacular second-year golfer, also advanced, setting up a stellar second-round matchup with Thomas Bjorn. Kyle Porter of CBS Sports offers his thoughts on this upcoming match:

    Spieth vs. Bjorn in the second round should be terrific. Bjorn strikes me as someone who doesn't give many craps about who Spieth is.

    — Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) February 19, 2014

    With one day in the books, the field has been cut in half. 

    There are plenty of excellent matches scheduled for Thursday's action at Dove Mountain. Match-play events always provide excitement and drama to those watching, and tomorrow's action shouldn't be any different.

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