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Woods continues march

March 01, 2003 15:15 IST

World number one Tiger Woods continued his quest to win his first World Matchplay Championship with a comfortable third-round victory on Friday.

Woods, who beat Australia's Stephen Leaney seven and six, will meet face 47-year-old Scott Hoch, who defeated Japan's Toshi Izawa four and three.

World number three Phil Mickelson, however will not join Woods in the last eight as Jerry Kelly defeated him two up.

Mickelson has never advanced past the third round in four attempts at the tournament.

Woods will be joined by Jay Haas, Australia's Adam Scott and Peter Lonard, Britain's Darren Clarke and David Toms.

Woods had his best round of the championship with two eagles, two birdies and only one bogey over the 12 holes on Friday.

"I took a huge layoff and it took me a little while to get back to the rhythm, but I feel like I'm back now," said Woods, who won the Buick Invitational at nearby Torrey Pines two weeks ago. "I have a better sense of where the club is at.

"I got off to a great start today and Stephen didn't play well and got behind. I kept putting a lot of pressure on him."

Woods, who lost the 2000 final to Clarke, has had a long layoff to allow his left knee to mend following surgery and is playing in only his third tournament of the year.

"When you go out and you have control of your game, on a difficult golf course like this... it definitely gives you a lot of confidence going into each and every match," Woods said.

"It's not like I'm slapping it around and shooting four or five over and winning matches.

I'm actually going out there and playing some pretty solid golf."


Mickelson never got his game on track on Friday and shot an aggregate two-over-par for 16


"I just didn't make enough birdies," Mickelson said.

Kelly made one mistake early when he missed the first fairway and made bogey but after gaining the tee following a birdie on the fourth hole, he never relinquished the honor and rode his two-birdie, one-bogey round to a win.

"I kept the pressure on him, by him seeing me in the fairway and knowing that he couldn't get too loose and really go after something," Kelly said.

"I really putted well, just missed quite a few birdie opportunities. But I was feeling pretty controlled out there."

Kelly, who won the Sony Open and the Western Open last year, said he had found it difficult finding motivation for his match with Mickelson until he read an article in Sports Illustrated on Thursday, in which he was voted one of the over-rated players on tour.

"So that was all the motivation I need right there," Kelly said. "It wasn't 'SI' that called me over-rated, by the way, it was voted by the players, which gave me even more motivation."

Kelly will meet 2001 PGA Champion David Toms on Saturday, while Clarke will take on Lonard.

Clarke played well through 13 holes of the match with Jim Furyk with four birdies and no bogeys, but after losing the 14th, his round and game changed.

Clarke had only one par from the 14th through the 18th, but Furyk did not make a par on the last four holes.

"We tried to give each other a couple of holes after that," Clarke said. "We both missed short putts, and I holed a nice one on 17 from about four feet coming back up the hill to go one-up and fortunately Jim didn't make it on the last one."

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