WGC Match Play: Ian Poulter continues his match-play dominance
By Alex Myers
Here's a look at what transpired on Friday at Dove Mountain and what we can look forward to on Saturday:
Revelation of the day -- Ian Poulter is a match-play god:
Does this guy EVER lose in this format? The Ryder Cup hero's only PGA Tour win came at this event in 2010. That means that somehow he was beaten in each of the last two years, but we wouldn't bet against him. While this format makes predicting a winner even harder than usual, the Englishman has emerged as the clear favorite heading into the weekend.
"Nice try, Bo. Who's next?" (Photo: Getty Images)
"That's soooo match play" moment of the day -- Bubba Watson and Jim Furyk: The match looked all but over when Watson, 1 up, stuck his approach on No. 18 to about three feet. But Furyk answered with a great shot of his own and when "the Grinder" made his putt and Watson missed, the two went to extra holes. Watson wound up winning on the 22nd hole, but only after putting himself through some unnecessary stress.
Weirdest Day -- Rickie Fowler and Francesco Molinari:
Thanks to late tee times and a rare snow storm, these guys both managed to make it to Day 3 of the event without winning a single match. They showed up to the course on Friday to play a combined six holes before bowing out, but we don't feel too badly for them. The $46,000 for simply competing in the tournament is a nice parting gift.
Shot of the Day -- Scott Piercy:
The 34-year-old holed his approach from 228 yards on the fifth hole to go 4 up in his match against the 2011 champ, Luke Donald. Piercy didn't stop, shooting six under on the front nine and winning 7 and 6 -- the most lopsided victory of the tournament. There's a scientific term for what the former No. 1 player in the world ran into: a buzzsaw.
Saturday's sneaky-good best match of the day -- Matt Kuchar vs. Nicolas Colsaerts:
The long-hitting Belgium became a household name during the Ryder Cup when he made eight birdies and an eagle on his own ball in a match against Tiger Woods and Lee Westwood. He'll need to showcase some of that firepower vs. Kuchar, who has an 11-3 record in this event and has been ousted by the eventual champ in each of the past two years.
Saturday's best chance for an international incident -- Hunter Mahan vs. Martin Kaymer:
It seems impossible for Mahan to look at his German opponent and not begrudge him for sinking the putt that won Europe the Ryder Cup this past fall. If Kaymer really wanted to get under Mahan's skin -- and that might be a good idea considering he's won eight straight matches in this event -- he'd show up to the first tee decked out in Ryder Cup gear.