Feb
26
2011
Match Play Quarterfinals: Holmes Vs. Watson, Long and Longer
By Stephanie Wei under European PGA Tour

It should be a lengthy match between J.B. Holmes and Bubba Watson in the quarterfinals at the Match Play Championship. Get ready for all sorts of bomber and distance references on the telecast. Watson caught on fire (again) and upset Geoff Ogilvy 6&4 to advance. Meanwhile, plumb-bobber Holmes, who was a last-minute add to the field after Tim Clark withdrew, beat mind-game master Jason Day 1-up. “It should be fun,” said Holmes. “Me and Bubba move it out there pretty good.”

Luke Donald continues to be deadly in matchplay, beating the young Matteo Manassero 3&2.

17-year-old Manassero sure held his own, though. “I am delighted with the way I played this week, he said. “And I’m delighted to go up to Friday, here. And I think I have done my best today. I probably played — I certainly didn’t play worse than the other days, I just met a tough competitor.”

We’ll be seeing more of him in the years to come — and next month! Manassero is trying to qualify for The Masters by reaching the top-50 in the world rankings. “I came back in the U.S. to play a few events and see if I can get in The Masters.”

Donald’s impressive matchplay record makes him a formidable opponent and a favorite to win the event.

“I enjoy matchplay,” said Donald. “I enjoy that urgency that it is, that you have to kind of get it done in 18 holes. I enjoy the fact that being consistent and not giving away holes is kind of the strength of my game, and I think that helps in match play.”

Donald will play Ryan Moore, who won the duel with Nick Watney in 19 holes.

I was probably one of the only people who picked Moore to beat Watney, so I’ll get ahead and go with Moore again in the tough match against Donald in the quarterfinals (even though Donald is one of the only players still alive in my bracket).

’98 US Amateur champion Matt Kuchar outplayed Rickie Fowler 2&1. Kuchar will face Y.E. Yang, who upset Graeme McDowell 3&2 (bracket breaker!). Tough call…I’ll go with Yang, who has the hot hand, making eight birdies against G-Mac. Y.E. Yes!

Crane, who throttled Rory McIlroy 8&7 a day earlier, had a completely different day. Miguel Angel Jimenez, the world’s most interesting man, routed Crane 7&6 in round three to advance. MAJ will face Martin Kaymer.

Kaymer: Whew!

Kaymer, the world no. 1 in waiting, played against Hunter Mahan on Friday and won 2&1. The match seesawed back-and-forth all day until Kaymer won four of the last five holes. Mahan may have had flashes of the Ryder Cup singles when he chunked his chip on No. 17 on Friday. Let’s turn to Rory McIlroy’s words at Celtic Manor, “We all know Hunter’s not the best in the world at chipping.” So, chalk the duff up to whatever you’d like.

My pick for MAJ vs. Kaymer? MAJ is tough, but he’s also old. “I think I’m playing very well,” said Jimenez. “I’m 47, I’m not that young…Everything I start on a new day. It’s a new day.”

Said Kaymer: “It will be difficult. He’s a consistent player. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. I need to be very patient and just play my game. Hopefully I can play the same way I played yesterday and today, and I think it will be difficult for him.”

I’m going with the Germanator.

Because of inclement weather moving in the Tucson area, the semifinal matches, which were originally scheduled for Sunday morning, will be played on Saturday after the quarterfinals. There’s a chance of snow on Sunday morning! In Tucson! Arizona! What’s going on in the world?!

Alright, drop in your predictions and picks below.

(AP Photos/Elaine Thompson)