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Howell sets up clash with Mickelson

David Howell

By Mark Garrod
FOUR birdies in five holes gave David Howell his second victory at the Accenture World Match Play Championship in California - and set him up for a clash with Phil Mickelson.

On a day that saw Colin Montgomerie go out to Japan’s Shingo Katayama, 30-year-old Howell beat American Scott Verplank 3 & 2, while Mickelson ended the hopes of John Daly 2 & 1.

On having to face the world number five on his home turf for a place in the quarter-finals, Howell said: "It will make it more of a feather in my cap if I win. I’m just going to have to go out and shoot a good score. If you can get round in five or six-under, anybody is going to struggle to beat you.

"I’ve changed my grip a bit, which takes a bit of getting used to, but I played well on the back nine and I’m more confident on the greens than I was earlier in the year."

Verplank could do nothing about Howell making successive birdies of two, six and 10 feet from the 13th after they had been all square with six to play.

Katayama needed to be only level par to beat Montgomerie 3 & 2.

Birdies at the 11th and 12th did leave Montgomerie only one down, but he then bogeyed the 14th and 15th, three-putting the second of those from only 20 feet.

American Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman caused the first upset of the day, beating ninth seed Adam Scott on the last.

Lehman next meets defending champion David Toms, who claimed his second successive European scalp.

After knocking out Ian Poulter at the 19th hole Toms came from two down to defeat Jose Maria Olazabal 2 & 1.

The crowd had a tough decision to make on their arrival at the course - watch Tiger Woods or go with easily the most attractive match on paper, Mickelson against Daly.

Woods crushed Stephen Ames by a tournament record 9 & 8 in the first round, but things were quickly very different against Robert Allenby.

The world number one bogeyed the first two holes before mounting a comeback that put him one up with three to play, before his opponent levelled on the 16th.

While Allenby started with eight successive pars, Woods had three bogeys and three birdies, the last of them a 25-footer down the slope on the eighth which was followed by his opponent missing from eight.

Woods almost pitched in at the 10th to take the lead for the first time, but Allenby made a 10-foot birdie putt at the short 16th to leave all to play for.

Daly came back from an early two-hole deficit to level when Mickelson went in the water like Olazabal at the eighth and he then sank a 22-footer on the next. But the left-hander holed from similar range for eagle at the 11th and birdied the 13th and 14th to stand three up.

A bogey on the next from Mickelson gave Daly hope, but the 16th and 17th were shared in pars and that was that.

Swede Carl Pettersson lost to Davis Love and compatriot Henrik Stenson trailed by one to Chad Campbell after 15, but Luke Donald was two up on Shigeki Maruyama after 10.

Padraig Harrington had bogey sixes at the third and eighth, but was on level terms with Argentina’s Angel Cabrera with eight to play.

Vijay Singh made an astonishing start against Miguel Angel Jimenez, hitting an opening drive measured at 330 yards. The only problem was that it ran into the water and he bogeyed that and the second. With six to go, the Fijian was back to all square, while Ernie Els’s conqueror Bernhard Langer trailed Canadian Mike Weir by one after 13.

Eleventh seed Montgomerie, beaten by the player seeded only 43rd, felt as bad about his game as he had in missing cuts in Dubai and Perth on his last two starts.

"I played badly, putted badly and didn’t give myself a chance," he said before departing an event in which he has never reached the quarter-finals.

(USA unless stated, seeded positions in brackets):

(7) Chris DiMarco bt (39) Arron Oberholser 6 and 5; (8) David Toms bt (25) Jose Maria Olazabal (Spa) 2 and 1

(5) Phil Mickelson bt (37) John Daly 2 and 1, (11) Colin Montgomerie(Gbr) lost to (43) Shingo Katayama (Jpn) 3 and 2, (9) Adam Scott (Aus) lost to(41) Tom Lehman 1 hole, (12) David Howell (Gbr) bt (21) Scott Verplank 3 and 2.

 

Howell sets up clash with Mickelson

David Howell

By Mark Garrod
FOUR birdies in five holes gave David Howell his second victory at the Accenture World Match Play Championship in California - and set him up for a clash with Phil Mickelson.

On a day that saw Colin Montgomerie go out to Japan’s Shingo Katayama, 30-year-old Howell beat American Scott Verplank 3 & 2, while Mickelson ended the hopes of John Daly 2 & 1.

On having to face the world number five on his home turf for a place in the quarter-finals, Howell said: "It will make it more of a feather in my cap if I win. I’m just going to have to go out and shoot a good score. If you can get round in five or six-under, anybody is going to struggle to beat you.

"I’ve changed my grip a bit, which takes a bit of getting used to, but I played well on the back nine and I’m more confident on the greens than I was earlier in the year."

Verplank could do nothing about Howell making successive birdies of two, six and 10 feet from the 13th after they had been all square with six to play.

Katayama needed to be only level par to beat Montgomerie 3 & 2.

Birdies at the 11th and 12th did leave Montgomerie only one down, but he then bogeyed the 14th and 15th, three-putting the second of those from only 20 feet.

American Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman caused the first upset of the day, beating ninth seed Adam Scott on the last.

Lehman next meets defending champion David Toms, who claimed his second successive European scalp.

After knocking out Ian Poulter at the 19th hole Toms came from two down to defeat Jose Maria Olazabal 2 & 1.

The crowd had a tough decision to make on their arrival at the course - watch Tiger Woods or go with easily the most attractive match on paper, Mickelson against Daly.

Woods crushed Stephen Ames by a tournament record 9 & 8 in the first round, but things were quickly very different against Robert Allenby.

The world number one bogeyed the first two holes before mounting a comeback that put him one up with three to play, before his opponent levelled on the 16th.

While Allenby started with eight successive pars, Woods had three bogeys and three birdies, the last of them a 25-footer down the slope on the eighth which was followed by his opponent missing from eight.

Woods almost pitched in at the 10th to take the lead for the first time, but Allenby made a 10-foot birdie putt at the short 16th to leave all to play for.

Daly came back from an early two-hole deficit to level when Mickelson went in the water like Olazabal at the eighth and he then sank a 22-footer on the next. But the left-hander holed from similar range for eagle at the 11th and birdied the 13th and 14th to stand three up.

A bogey on the next from Mickelson gave Daly hope, but the 16th and 17th were shared in pars and that was that.

Swede Carl Pettersson lost to Davis Love and compatriot Henrik Stenson trailed by one to Chad Campbell after 15, but Luke Donald was two up on Shigeki Maruyama after 10.

Padraig Harrington had bogey sixes at the third and eighth, but was on level terms with Argentina’s Angel Cabrera with eight to play.

Vijay Singh made an astonishing start against Miguel Angel Jimenez, hitting an opening drive measured at 330 yards. The only problem was that it ran into the water and he bogeyed that and the second. With six to go, the Fijian was back to all square, while Ernie Els’s conqueror Bernhard Langer trailed Canadian Mike Weir by one after 13.

Eleventh seed Montgomerie, beaten by the player seeded only 43rd, felt as bad about his game as he had in missing cuts in Dubai and Perth on his last two starts.

"I played badly, putted badly and didn’t give myself a chance," he said before departing an event in which he has never reached the quarter-finals.

(USA unless stated, seeded positions in brackets):

(7) Chris DiMarco bt (39) Arron Oberholser 6 and 5; (8) David Toms bt (25) Jose Maria Olazabal (Spa) 2 and 1

(5) Phil Mickelson bt (37) John Daly 2 and 1, (11) Colin Montgomerie(Gbr) lost to (43) Shingo Katayama (Jpn) 3 and 2, (9) Adam Scott (Aus) lost to(41) Tom Lehman 1 hole, (12) David Howell (Gbr) bt (21) Scott Verplank 3 and 2.