AUSSIES Geoff Ogilvy and Jason Day are through to the third round of the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship on a day that saw leading golfing lights Lee Westwood, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els hit the road.
Day was particularly impressive downing star match play performer Paul Casey 4 and 2 and he will now meet big hitting American J.B. Holmes.
Casey has been runner up in the last two years of the event but didn’t get a look in after the 23 year old Australian debutante grabbed the lead at the 4th hole.
Both of Day’s matches have ended at the 16th hole and over the two days he has hit 12 birdies and an eagle.
“I was very happy with the way I handled myself,” Day said after his win.
Ogilvy, a two time winner of the event, had to battle all the way to the 18th to beat Thomas Bjorn, the Dane who knocked Tiger Woods out of the first round.
Four times during his match Ogilvy took the lead, making birdies at the 2nd, 5th, 9th and 12th holes but on each occasion Bjorn fought back, doing so for the final time when Ogilvy bogeyed 17.
Ogilvy only needed a par to take the 18th and the match after Bjorn fluffed a chip. He will now meet Bubba Watson in the round of 16.
Star of the day was undoubtedly the teenage clothes horse Rickie Fowler (it was matching lime green cap, short, shoes on the first day and today it was pink).
To use the local vernacular, the 22 year old “smoked” Mickelson 6 and 5 at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain in the Arizona desert.
With spectacular iron play and deadly putting Fowler hit what would have been 5 birdies and two eagles.
Mickelson could only grin ruefully as he conceded a few footer putt on their last hole (the 13th) that would have been an eagle three for Fowler.
“It was just one of those days. Certainly I got outplayed, that’s obvious,” Michelson said.
In something of a changing of the guard, eight of the 16 players making it through to the third round are under 30.
They are led by 17 year old Italian Matteo Manassero who continued his fairytale run by accounting for world No.25 Charl Schwartzel.
The other “youngsters” include Day, 23, Fowler 22, Martin Kaymer 26, Hunter Mahan 28, Ryan Moore, 28, J.B. Holmes 28 and Nick Watney 29.
“The young guys, I guess it’s just some of us are playing pretty well this week,” Fowler said. “… I think most of the young guys are pretty fearless. We’re ready to play.”
Australian tv coverage of the Accenture Match Play Championship continues on ONE HD Saturday and Sunday form 6am to 10am.