Originally created 02/28/04

Woods, Mickelson breeze through matches



CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Tiger Woods took control of his match early and never gave Trevor Immelman much hope, easing into the third round Friday at the Match Play Championship.

Woods holed a 10-foot par putt on the second hole to avoid going down early, then ran off four birdies on his next six holes and closed out the South African, 5 and 4.

"I hadn't made anything two days ago," Woods said. "It was nice to pour that one in the middle and get some confidence."

The second round, suspended one day when rain deluged La Costa Resort, was nothing like the opening day when nearly half of the matches went the distance.

The longest match, however, made up for the lack of drama.

Robert Allenby holed an 8-foot par putt to force extra holes. He made another 8-footer for par to keep it going. Then, he and Adam Scott traded birdies over the next three holes, none more unlikely the Allenby making one from about 30 feet on the second extra hole.

It finally ended on the 23rd hole when Allenby three-putted for bogey, missing from about 2 feet.

Scott had only a few minutes before meeting Davis Love III, who earlier dispatched of Fred Couples, 3 and 2.

Most of other second-round matches were over early, although there were a few surprises.

Jerry Kelly took advantage of early mistakes by Vijay Singh, then sent the No. 2 player in the world home with clutch birdies for a 4-and-2 victory.

Three of the four major champions at La Costa this week also went home.

Phil Mickelson used his length and accuracy to put enormous pressure on British Open champion Ben Curtis, never losing a hole in beating him 7 and 6.

David Toms, playing only his second tournament since surgery on his left wrist, made it to the round of 16 with a 4-and-3 victory over PGA champion Shaun Micheel.

Masters champion Mike Weir, coming off a victory last week at Riviera, never caught up to Stephen Leaney and lost on the 16th hole. Weir appeared to have a chance to gain momentum on the 14th hole, 2-down but about 20 feet from the hole with Leaney in the bunker.

The Australian holed the bunker shot for birdie, Weir missed his putt and lost, 4 and 3.

Another surprise: Colin Montgomerie has never spent so much time in San Diego.

Montgomerie, who has gone home after the first round three times and has never stayed past Thursday, whipped Stewart Cink, 5 and 4, to advance to the third round.

This week is critical to his chances of getting back into the top 50 to qualify for The Players Championship.

Woods played the third round against Fredrik Jacobson, another big winner over Thomas Bjorn.

His victory over Immelman was his eighth straight in the Accenture Match Play Championship, tying the record set last year by 2002 champion Kevin Sutherland.

Woods got off to a rugged start, missing the fairway by 30 yards on No. 1 and sending his tee shot well over the green on the par-3 second, and badly hooking his third shot.

He saved par on the first two holes, and nearly holed his approach on the par-5 third coming and going - it almost landed in the cup on the fly, then grazed it as it spun back. He made birdie for a 1-up lead, and was off and running.

Immelman hit into the bunker on No. 4 and made bogey, Woods holed a 12-footer for birdie on No. 5 and then he really crushed the South African's spirits on No. 7.

Immelman hit into the rough and couldn't reach the green. Woods hit his approach to 6 feet, and was ready to go 4 up in the match. Momentum was ready to swing, however, when Immelman holed a 100-foot chip for birdie, but Woods poured in his putt on top of his to halve the hole.

"In match play, it's huge not to give him any momentum," Woods said.

He won the next hole with a brilliant chip from a muddy patch of turf to 10 feet, while Immelman made a short birdie.

Players were allowed to lift, clean and place on the soggy fairways of La Costa, which made the course play even longer. Curtis never had a chance against Mickelson, who was long and straight off the tee.

Lefty tied the tournament record for largest margin of victory, held by four other players.

Chris DiMarco never led in his match against Stuart Appleby until the 19th hole, the only match that went overtime. Appleby bogeyed the final hole - No. 9 - then made another bogey on No. 10 to send DiMarco into the third round against Mickelson.

Kenny Perry won the battle of Kentucky with a 1-up victory over Steve Flesch, while John Huston, a semifinalist at La Costa in 1999, disposed of Peter Lonard on the 18th hole.