Former Herculean amateur Ryan Moore drained a nine-footer for birdie on the first extra hole to knock off Nick Watney in a well-fought duel. Moore, who is playing in his second WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, advanced to the quarterfinals and reminded the world he’s fared well in the matchplay format. Moore, who won the 2004 US Amateur, 2004 Western Amateur, 2004 US Amateur Public Links, 2004 NCAA Championship and the 2004 Sahalee Players Championship, said, “I enjoy matchplay a lot. My amateur record kind of says so.”
Moore and Watney both played excellent golf, which makes it a shame someone had to lose. The match seesawed back-and-forth all day. Watney took the early lead, winning the first two holes, and then Moore battled back to square things up. Moore won 15 and 16 to take the 2-up advantage, but Watney struck back with birdies on the last two holes to force the match to extra holes.
On the nineteenth hole, No. 1, Moore drove his ball to the left rough and had a tight lie. He knocked his approach to nine feet, which even left the announcers speechless for a few seconds because they weren’t sure he actually pulled off the shot. Watney, who had a wedge in hand, hit his shot over the ridge and left himself a long putt. Moore drained his putt to close out the fight.
“Oh, man, I’m exhausted,” said Moore. “It was one of those matches really nobody should have lost. We both played great all day long.”
Just check out the scorecard — Watney made nine birdies!
“(Matchplay is) really stressful,” said Moore. “I think it’s more fun. I really do enjoy matchplay.
“I enjoy just the different aspect of it. It’s that day that you’re focused on, it’s not a marathon, necessarily. It’s more of a sprint. It’s get out there and kind of get it done that day. And, you know, a guy can lose a shot to go 7-under, or win shooting four or five over, you never know. And I think that’s what’s fun and interesting about it.”
Moore, who admitted to feeling rusty in matchplay, will have to bring his best on Saturday when he faces the mild-mannered Luke Donald, who apparently strikes the fear of God in his opponents, in the quarterfinals.