Westwood beats Spieth to advance


Published: Saturday 2nd May 2015 by The News Editor

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Lee Westwood claimed the notable scalp of Masters champion Jordan Spieth to reach the last 16 of the WGC-Cadillac Championship in San Francisco.

Spieth and Westwood had both won their first two group matches at Harding Park, meaning Friday’s contest between the Ryder Cup rivals would decide which player advanced to the knockout stages.

And it was Westwood who recovered from losing the first two holes to complete an impressive victory on the 18th hole and keep alive his hopes of a first WGC title at the 51st attempt.

“It feels great obviously,” Westwood told Sky Sports 4. “There are no easy matches out here and I knew Jordan was going to be tough to beat.

“(I was) sliding down the bannister at the start, two down after two, and just had to regroup and fight back after that.

“Anything can happen (now). Getting out of the group was really one of the toughest things to do this week. Sometimes your fate was out of your hands but fortunately I won all three games and I am very excited about tomorrow morning.

“I will try to come out and play as good as I played today and keep holing putts.”

Spieth quickly gained the upper hand with a birdie on the first before a par was good enough to win the second, where both players found sand off the tee but only Spieth was able to get up and down.

Westwood took advantage of a rare bogey from Spieth to reduce his deficit on the sixth and a birdie on the ninth got the 42-year-old back to all square against an opponent half his age, who had two wins, two runner-up finishes and a share of 11th in his previous five events.

A birdie on the 10th gave Westwood – who the Indonesian Masters on Sunday – the lead for the first time, but Spieth hit straight back with a birdie on the 11th to set up a tense closing six holes.

Westwood looked like regaining the lead after a superb approach on the 15th, only for Spieth to chip in from short of the green and force Westwood to hole from six feet for a matching birdie.

It was Westwood’s turn to chip in on the 16th, albeit only for a par after thinning a bunker shot and duffing his first chip, but a birdie on the 17th put him back in front and victory was assured when Spieth was unable to birdie the 18th.

Justin Rose had earlier bowed out despite beating Ryan Palmer to claim his second consecutive victory, first-day conqueror Marc Leishman rendering the former US Open champion’s result meaningless by beating India’s Anirban Lahiri on the 18th to advance with a perfect 3-0 record.

Leishman will face Gary Woodland next after Woodland defeated Webb Simpson on the 18th.

Former champion Hunter Mahan also advanced to the knockout stages with his third win, the American defeating compatriot Matt Kuchar 5&4 in group 14.

Mahan will face Australian John Senden on Saturday morning, Senden and Rickie Fowler having already booked their places in the last 16 with a game to spare thanks to victories on the opening two days against the two players who could possibly match their overall record.

Head-to-head results would decide the group winner in the event of two players finishing tied, with a play-off required if three players finished on the same mark.

The first of those saw Branden Grace defeat Zach Johnson and Charley Hoffman with a birdie at the third extra hole to set up a last-16 clash with England’s Tommy Fleetwood, who defeated Bernd Wiesberger on the 19th and advanced courtesy of his better head-to-head record with Jamie Donaldson, who had defeated Sergio Garcia.

Published: Saturday 2nd May 2015 by The News Editor

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