WGC-ACCENTURE MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP

Seeds scattered about the desert

2010-02-19T00:00:00Z 2014-09-15T09:02:16Z Seeds scattered about the desertRyan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 19, 2010 12:00 am  • 

It wasn't a prayer, exactly. More of a promise.

As Camilo Villegas went to bed Wednesday night, he thought ahead to his WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship showdown against Geoff Ogilvy.

"He beat me last year. And, funny enough, as players, we don't forget those things," Villegas said. "I said, 'You know what? Geoff beat me last year. I think it's my turn.' "

The Colombian sensation got his revenge Thursday, dispatching the defending Match Play champion 2 and 1 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain, to advance to the round of 16.

Villegas, 28, will take on American Ben Crane today with a chance to secure his best-ever Match Play finish.

Ogilvy was one of a half-dozen elite players who fell in Thursday's second round. Jim Furyk, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer - the tournament's three highest-remaining seeds - all lost their matches, as did South Africa's Ernie Els, Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy and former Phoenix Brophy Prep star Sean O'Hair.

The result: A Dove Mountain bloodbath that left just a few household names remaining.

Sergio Garcia, Stewart Cink, Paul Casey and Japanese sensation Ryo Ishikawa are the tournament's best-remaining hopes for television ratings and walk-up crowds.

Garcia snuck past Anders Hansen 2 and 1; he will face South African Tim Clark, who stunned Kaymer 3 and 2 to continue his reputation as a giant-killer.

Clark upset Tiger Woods in the second round a year ago, beat Vijay Singh in Wednesday's first round, and Kaymer - a favorite to win the tournament - on Thursday.

Ishikawa, who at 18 is the youngest competitor in Match Play history, will take on Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee today. The winner will face Jeev Milkha Singh or Ian Poulter.

Poulter, a flashy Brit known for his loud outfits and big talk, won three of the final seven holes to defeat Australia's Adam Scott 2 and 1. Poulter, a Match Play whiz, is 14-7 all-time in the tournament.

"I just - I don't like losing," Poulter said. "I believe I can play this game. I think … my mental toughness is pretty strong. It's one of the key parts of my game."

Ogilvy, a fan favorite, would have rounded out today's group nicely. But a strong finish by Villegas spoiled any hope of a repeat.

The two were all-square through 14 holes when Villegas, playing conservatively and patiently all day, turned up the heat. He sank a 2-foot birdie putt on No. 15 to take a one-hole lead, and followed with a 21-foot birdie on 16 to go 2-up. The match was called after the two halved the 17th hole.

"I think at the end of the day, it was two critical shots," Villegas said. "I was patient throughout the entire match. I still missed some putts. Geoff still missed some putts. And that's the game of golf. You can get a little ahead of yourself and you can get a little worried, or you can take it as it comes."

Villegas said he tried to stay positive, despite Ogilvy's 18-2 career mark in Match Play heading into Thursday. Ogilvy took a 1-up lead on the second hole, but Villegas answered with a par on No. 5 as Ogilvy had a bogey. Ogilvy birdied the 6th hole, but Villegas answered by winning the next one.

They were all-square at the turn and after No. 14. Villegas then saw his opening and - staked to a lead - played with confidence.

"But it's easier said than done," he said. "You still know it's Geoff Ogilvy, a great player with a great record in this tournament. The guy that beat you in the third round (last year). So all these things build up a challenge, and the challenge - you can take it in a positive way or you can take it in a negative way.

"I just decided to take it in a good way and say, 'You know what? It's a tough game, it's a tough opponent, and it's a tough golf course. But I can do it.' "

On StarNet: View videos of Thursday's second round at azstarnet.com/sports/golf

IF YOU GO

• Where: The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain

• When: Today through Sunday

• Tickets: Visit worldgolfchampionships.com, call 1-866-942-2672 or purchase at the gate.

DON'T MISS THIS MATCH

No. 13 Sergio Garcia vs. No. 36 Tim Clark, 10:50 a.m.

Clark bumped off international stars Vijay Singh and Martin Kaymer to reach the round of 16. Now he steps up against the photogenic Garcia, who makes his fourth stop in the round of 16, in which he is winless.

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