A field of 64 at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship has been whittled down to eight.
The quarterfinals are set for Saturday morning at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain, with Aussie Jason Day leading the way as the highest-ranked player surviving three days of match-play carnage. The Aussie, who teamed with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf in the fall, took down recent first-time European Tour winner George Coetzee by a 3-and-1 count in the Bobby Jones bracket.
Day will take on a South African in his next match: 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, who dispatched of Webb Simpson, 5 and 4, to have the shortest day of any of the quarterfinalists.
The winner of the Day-Oosthuizen matchup will have a Final 4 date with the winner of a match pitting Rickie Fowler against Jim Furyk.
Furyk, a 5 seed, took out Harris English by a 1-up margin in a back-and-forth match. The ’03 U.S. Open champion fell 3 down early in the match, but rallied to hold off the Mayakoba winner.
Meanwhile, the difference for Fowler in his match against Sergio Garcia was a bizarre concession on the seventh hole of the match. On the prior hole, Garcia slowed up play while dealing with some bees in the Arizona desert. Feeling guilty that the delay may have thrown off Fowler, Garcia conceded a 17-foot putt to halve the hole to the 14 seed. Fowler wound up winning the match by a single hole.
On the other side of the bracket, the championship match of the Gary Player bracket is a clash of generations. Ernie Els continues to grind his way to wins, beating reigning PGA champion Jason Dufner by a 1-up margin. The 20-year-old Jordan Spieth took out defending champion Matt Kuchar, 2 and 1, to advance to the quarterfinals.
The Sam Snead bracket will wrap up with a matchup of Europeans and likely Ryder Cup teammates. Graeme McDowell once again got the best of Hunter Mahan, winning in 21 holes in a sort-of rematch from Singles Monday at the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor. Bubba Watson, who teamed successfully with Jeff Overton that week in Wales, went down to a potential Ryder Cup rookie, Frenchman Victor Dubuisson, who scraped by with a 1-up win.