Toms flawless in Match Play

David Toms was flawless from tee to green and made crucial putts to beat big-hitting Adam Scott to advance to the Match Play Championship semifinals for the second time in three years on Saturday.

US Open champion Retief Goosen, Chris DiMarco and Ian Poulter of the United Kingdom also reached the semifinals. None of the quarterfinals reached the 18th hole, and in all four matches, the winner never trailed.

Toms had to beat two of the hottest players on the US PGA Tour—first Phil Mickelson in the third round, then Nissan Open winner Scott of Australia in a well-played quarterfinal at La Costa Resort.

“If he plays like that, you’re probably looking at the winner,” Scott said.

Toms missed only one fairway, was dead-on with his irons and put Scott away with two clutch shots. First came a 20-foot par putt to stay ahead on the 15th, then a tee shot that never left the pin on the par-3 16th and left him a six-footer that put him two-up with two holes to play.
He won, two and one.

“I had to play extremely well both matches to win,” Toms said. “I feel good on this golf course. Everything feels solid. If I can continue to do that in the next match, I’ll be fine.”

Toms faced Poulter in the semifinals later on Saturday.

Poulter ended another great run by Nick O’Hern of Australia in the Accenture Match Play Championship, winning the first three holes on the back nine and withstanding a late charge to win, two and one.

O’Hern, who knocked off two-time defending champion Tiger Woods in the second round, has reached the quarterfinals the two times he has qualified for this tournament.

Poulter wasn’t at his best, but he didn’t have to be. O’Hern made five bogeys in 17 holes, after making only two bogeys in his previous 50 holes at La Costa.

“It was a struggle all day,” O’Hern said.

Goosen, the only player among the top seeds remaining after Woods, Mickelson and Vijay Singh were eliminated on Friday, looked like a force against another Australian, Robert Allenby.

He didn’t miss a shot over the first four holes to build a two-up lead, and went four-up on the seventh hole. Then, he matched birdies with Allenby on the back nine, winning four and three.

Goosen next faced DiMarco, who never trailed against Stewart Cink in the all-American quarterfinal between Ryder Cup teammates.

Cink twice made bogey to fall two holes behind, but closed the gap with a birdie on the par-three 12th. DiMarco answered by chipping in for birdie from 40 feet away on the 14th, restoring his lead and winning, two and one.

Toms was often 30 yards behind Scott off tee, just like he was against Mickelson. But he was always in the short grass at still-soggy La Costa, and he continually applied pressure.

With a one-up lead and Scott only 10 feet away for birdie on the 10th, Toms rolled in a 30-foot putt that assured he kept the lead.

Scott finally caught up with an 18-foot birdie on the 13th, but the Australian found the bunker at number 14, then missed a six-foot par putt to fall behind.

Scott again appeared to have the advantage on the 15th when Toms missed his only fairway, driving left into clumpy rough and missing the green to the left. His 20-foot par putt demoralised Scott.

“I was up against it,” Scott said. “I got down early, and it’s tough when he’s playing as good as he is.”

How good?

Toms has made only one bogey in the 69 holes he has played through the quarterfinals, none over his last 59 holes.—Sapa-AP

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