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Couple of ‘squirrely’ shots doom Lefty

Citizen Staff Writer



Boy, when Phil Mickelson loses, he really loses.

Mickelson did it in style Friday in the Accenture Match Play Championship’s third round, and for the ninth time in 10 tries failed to make the tournament quarterfinals.

After squaring the match with Stewart Cink thanks to a Cink bogey, Mickelson hit the desert on his ensuing drive at No. 17 on the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain course, then the sand, then near the side of the grandstand.

Then at 18, the latter to tie it again, the ball flirted with the hole and stopped to make another mini-misadventure complete.

Cink won 1-up.

“I thought I hit the ball pretty well,” Mickelson said, insisting he still “enjoyed the match.”

“I had a tough time getting the ball close today, then the last few holes I hit a couple of squirrely ones.”

Cink going the distance

Cink is one of three Americans left, actually a good percentage considering how Europeans, South Africans and Aussies are at the event.

Steady Cink eased into the finals against Tiger Woods last year before getting drubbed.

“I didn’t want to play Tiger (again),” Cink said. “I had that experience last year and that was a enough for a while.”

Cink has played at least 18 holes in each of the first three rounds, including 23 Thursday in a win over Lee Westwood.

“I don’t mind,” Cink said. “As long as I’m sitting there at the end, I’m OK.”

Cink has the most career Match Play wins of the remaining field (16-9), while Geoff Ogilvy has the best percentage (14-2, .875).

Furyk falls

Overcoming a pair of bogeys with four birdies and some doggedness was how Justin Leonard cooled off British golfer Oliver Wilson on Friday.

Leonard won in 19 holes.

Saturday he plays England’s Ross Fisher, who eliminated ex-Arizona Wildcat Jim Furyk 4 and 3.

That leaves nobody with much American name recognition with the exception of former Phoenix Brophy Prep athlete Sean O’Hair.

One thing about O’Hair: He knows the desert even though he says he’s way under the radar.

“I have no entourage,” he said.

Ogilvy weighs in

Ogilvy is possibly as curious about his opponent Saturday, Rory McIlroy, as the press and casual fans.

Ogilvy is somewhat of a Match Play veteran – he’s the the 2006 Accenture winner and 2007 runner-up.

“I hear somebody said (McIlroy) was as good as Tiger was at that age,” Ogilvy said. “He smashes the ball . . . I mean for a young guy, he swings it with really sound technique.”

Distraction hurts Els

The Tucson Conquistadores volunteers should get awards for style. When a pro is shooting they raise their arms high, which means QUIET.

And they mean it. It becomes so quiet you could hear a snake crawl 100 yards away.

But they have no control over TV cameramen. Friday, a loud-talking Golf Channel cameraman on No. 11 could have cost Ernie Els the match, although he later won after being up by one at No. 18 when opponent Luke Donald withdrew because of an injured wrist.

“I got all distracted,” said Els, who three-putted and lost the hole with a par. “I don’t want to blame the cameraman . . . I was just about to hit my putt when he started talking.

“It was a big putt. If I two-putt, and he misses, 3-up with six or seven to go, you know, you’re looking good then.”

Attendance dips

Without Tiger Woods, attendance dropped by 3,000 Friday, to 11,130.

Both Wednesday and Thursday’s attendance had exceeded last year’s totals for those days.

The Golf Channel’s Wednesday telecast got a 2.0 rating, which is high for a cable outlet.

GolfChannel.com had 3.3 million page views, with 468,000 total visits to the site.

PGA Tour.Com set a record for single-day video streaming, serving 2.5 million videos Wednesday.

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