* Mahan crushes Yang 5&3
* Johnson thumps Molinari 7&5
* Woods loses one down to Watney
(Updates at end of round)
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
MARANA, Arizona, Feb 23 Tiger Woods
tumbled out of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on
Thursday after fellow Americans Hunter Mahan and Dustin Johnson
had eased into the third round with commanding victories.
Mahan became the first player to advance, crushing South
Korean Yang Yong-eun 5&3, and Johnson followed with a 7&5
demolition of Italy's Francesco Molinari at Dove Mountain's
Ritz-Carlton Golf Club.
Three-times champion Woods, however, went out in the second
round for a third time at the elite World Golf Championships
event, struggling on the greens as he lost one-down to
compatriot Nick Watney.
"I'm very happy to move on," Watney told reporters after
Woods had missed a six-foot birdie putt at the par-four 18th to
keep the match alive. "I feel a bit fortunate, as well.
"We don't see him miss putts like that very often, and there
were a few of them today. I don't think that this will be a day
that either of us will look back on as far as putting goes."
Woods, who had been bidding for a first PGA Tour victory in
over two years, took some comfort from the quality of his
shot-making over the closing holes.
"I didn't miss a single shot coming in, which is good," the
14-times major champion said. "That was fun to hit the ball that
well. Unfortunately I just didn't make a putt when I needed it."
British world number three Lee Westwood reached the third
round for the first time in 12 appearances at the event, beating
Swede Robert Karlsson 3&2, and fourth-ranked German Martin
Kaymer edged past American David Toms two up.
Triple major winner Ernie Els, who had upset world number
one and defending champion Luke Donald in the opening round, was
ousted 5&4 by Swede Peter Hanson.
In blazing desert sunshine, Mahan birdied six of the first
eight holes to go four up on Yang and recovered from bogeys at
the ninth and 10th to seal the win on the 15th green.
"I was playing as well as I could, hitting fairways and
greens, giving myself good looks," said Mahan, who will face
U.S. Ryder Cup team mate Steve Stricker in Friday's third round.
"If you hit it good around here where these pins are and you
get on the right level, you are going to have some putts, you
are going to be able to make some putts. Today I was able to do
Stricker, champion in 2001 when the event was held in
Australia, won a tight encounter with South African Louis
Oosthuizen one up after sinking a 20-foot birdie putt at the
Johnson, who needed 20 holes to scrape past compatriot Jim
Furyk in the opening round, never let up after seizing control
against Molinari with four birdies in the first eight holes.
The match ended at the par-five 13th where the Italian
parred and the big-hitting Johnson was just 10 feet from the
hole in two shots.
"That momentum (from Wednesday) kind of carried over to
today," Johnson said. "I got off to a good start and just played
really solidly today."
John Senden, who putted well on Dove Mountain's tricky
greens, upset fellow Australian Jason Day, the world number
"I had the pressure on him early," said Senden, who birdied
two of the first four holes to go two up. "Then from there I
wanted to keep focused and keep the quality of shots going on.
"And then I did that. And he sort of made the mistakes to
force the match to go further and further my way."
In other matches, Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South
Africa lost to South Korea's Bae Sang-moon one-down and
second-ranked Northern Irishman Rory Mcllroy advanced with a 3&2
win over Dane Anders Hansen.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Gene