No dropped shots but Casey still drops out
Sunday 24 February 2008
Paul Casey did not drop a shot at the WGC Match Play Championship on Friday, but that didn't stop him from losing. Casey bowed out at the hands of KJ Choi in their third-round match at Dove Mountain and – with Colin Montgomerie also losing – the quarter-finals became a British-free zone.
The streaky Casey parred the first three holes but stepped to the fourth tee three-down after the Korean began birdie, birdie, birdie. It was always an uphill battle for Casey, who clawed back to one-down after 10 holes, but could not get any closer.
"He is a very strong player and I didn't make the putts I should have, simple as that," Casey said after losing two-down. "I pushed him all the way. I am happy with the way I played. I had a chance but it just wasn't to be."
Montgomerie was unable to repeat his form of the previous two days as his touch deserted him on the Tucson greens. Ruing his poor putting, the Scot said: "I had chances on 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 and missed them all. He [Stewart Cink] putted very well. He even said he got lucky on a few putts and I was unlucky."
Cink added: "Sometimes you can't explain golf. I didn't really feel I had control of my ball off the tee and I think Colin would agree with that."
With Casey and Montgomerie gone, Swede Henrik Stenson was the only European to survive, the defending champion winning by the narrowest of margins for the third consecutive day, this time against the American Jonathan Byrd.
Tiger Woods could have lost to the Australian Aaron Baddeley but finally won at the second extra hole. Baddeley had a run of eight birdies in nine holes, and had putts to win at the 18th and 19th, but the world No 1 finally triumphed by sinking a 10-foot putt at the 20th.
"It was quality shot after quality shot," Woods said after reaching the quarter-finals for the fifth time in nine appearances.
"Matches like that are fun to be part of. I felt I was in control of the match the entire way round until I lost it on 14 and went one down. With four holes to go, I had to find a way to at least get that control back. The match was unbelievable. I made two mistakes and gave him two holes, but he did the same."
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