Feb
24
2011
Round 2 Matches Complete; Bracket Check!
By Stephanie Wei under European PGA Tour

Kaymer: Still standing

With the second day of matches complete, Martin Kaymer is the only No. 1 seed that advanced to the round of 16. Kaymer beat Rose in 20 holes after a hard-fought duel. “I had to dig very deep (to win),” said Kaymer. “I was playing good golf. I shot 5-under in 20 holes, which was not bad. It would have been tough if I lost it. I played solid golf.

“But (Justin) came really strong back on the back 9. He made a lot of good putts. But it was a good fight.”

17-year-old Matteo Manassero of Italy was the youngest player in the field and is still competing. After beating veteran Steve Stricker in the first round, Manassero birdied the 17th hole to go 1-up over Charl Schwartzel. They halved the 18th and Manassero won 1-up. Entering the tournament, he said his expectations were “None.

“Because I was trying to play good golf, maybe get some lucky breaks and get through a few rounds and try to get in Top 50, which gets me into Doral,” said Manassero. “So that’s what I’m aiming at, and — but my expectations weren’t high because I didn’t want to put my expectations especially into Match Play, where everything can happen. So I just came here and try to play a good game.”

I think he’s doing a fine job.

Notes from other matches…

*Ryan Moore dusted off KJ Choi 5&4. The former US Amateur champ and match play master made five birdies in 13 holes. “I just played steady golf again today, just kind of like I did yesterday,” said Moore. “It was nothing crazy, birdied the holes I should have. And didn’t make too many mistakes out there. I just played a good, solid round. And he gave me a couple of holes and I ended up with a good comfortable lead.” Moore loves match play, which is obvious if you look at his amateur record. Look for a great match between him and Nick Watney in the third round.

*J.B. Holmes beat Ernie Els 1-up. “I’ve been hitting my driver great this week,” Holmes said. “I was 40, 50 yards past Ernie a few times today. … I would assume it’s intimidating to see that. I’ve got lower irons and I always get to see what they do.”

*Graeme McDowell knocked out Ross Fisher 4&2. “It was an interesting day this morning, obviously playing against Ross, one of my good friends,” said G-Mac. “It’s tough to have that killer instinct you need. You have to put the blinkers on and get down to business.” G-Mac was also just as surprised as everyone that Ben Crane waxed his best friend Rory McIlroy. “I can’t really get my head around that right now,” he said.

*Y.E. Yang def. Stewart Cink 4&3; Matt Kuchar def. Bo Van Pelt 3&2; Crane def. McIlroy 8&7; Miguel Angel Jimenez def. Ryan Palmer 4&2; Hunter Mahan def. Robert Karlsson 2-up; Jason Day def. Paul Casey 4&2; Bubba Watson def. Mark Wilson 5&3; Geoff Ogilvy def. Thomas Bjorn 1-up; Nick Watney def. Lee Westwood 1-up; Luke Donald def. Edoardo Molinari 2&1.

*Eight Americans — Crane, Fowler, Mahan, Watney, Watson, Kuchar, Holmes and Moore — advanced to the third round. Last year, only four U.S. players reached the round of 16.

How did your bracket fare? I’m pretty happy with how I did considering a few of my picks were knocked out in the first round. Like I said yesterday, if you’re batting above .500, you should be content. I picked the winner in 9 out of 16 matches. Hooray.

Intriguing matches tomorrow?

*Fowler vs. Kuchar: If Fowler plays anything like he did against Phil on Thursday, Kuchar is in big trouble. Kooch, the former US Amateur champion, has been playing steady golf, but needs to get rid of all those bogeys on his scorecard for a chance against Rickie who has a hot hand. My pick: Rickie.

*McDowell vs. Yang: Just because I got G-Mac in the championship match, I’ll be watching closely. Yang beat Cink, an experienced match-play veteran, in the second round. G-Mac said he hasn’t had his A-game the past few days, so watch out if he gets things going. I think he can take down Yang even if he doesn’t have his best stuff. However, Yang did tame Tiger at the ’09 PGA Championship when Tiger Woods was still Tiger Woods. My pick: G-Mac.

*Day vs. Holmes: Both bombers. Day won’t have a problem keeping up with Holmes. I’m interested in seeing what kind of mind games Day has in his bag on Friday. I expect Holmes to get rattled. My pick: Day.

*Watney vs. Moore: Watney upset Westwood, knocking off the no. 1 player in the world. He’s been a birdie machine lately, but Moore is a match play specialist. He’s playing steady golf, which I’m pretty sure means he’s hitting it really well and not making as many putts as he should. Watch out if he gets the putter rolling. My pick: Can I abstain? Okay, fine. Moore.

*Other matches (my picks in bold): Ogilvy vs. Bubba; Manassero vs. Donald; Kaymer vs. Mahan (ooooh, this should be good!); Crane vs. Jimenez.

Which matches are you looking forward to? Your picks? Go for it.

(AP Photos/Matt York)