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Woods, Singh among top seeds failing to advance



Published: Sat, February 26, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Tiger lost for the first time in 13 matches to an unheralded Australian.

CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) -- So much for that dream match between Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods. Their only contest at the Match Play Championship on Friday was who was the first to clean out their lockers.

Singh continued his dubious streak of never advancing beyond the second round.

Woods lost for the first time in 13 matches, his two-year reign ended by a little-known Aussie.

Mickelson also ousted

By the end of a marathon day at soggy La Costa Resort, they were joined at the check-out line by Phil Mickelson, the No. 3 seed and hottest player in golf who got knocked out in the third round.

As quickly as 1-2-3, the biggest names disappeared in the Accenture Match Play Championship.

"That's the beauty of this tournament," David Toms said after eliminating Mickelson. "Phil and I were talking today, when he shot that low round at Spyglass (62), you get a big lead on the field. Here, you can do that in one match. And the next match, if you don't play well you're gone."

The highest seed remaining after a wild day at La Costa was U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen, who rallied from 3 down with eight holes to play and beat hard-luck, worn-out Chad Campbell on the 19th hole.

No one had a longer day than Campbell, who played more holes Friday (43) than he did all week at the Nissan Open, where he lost a one-hole playoff to Adam Scott in a tournament shortened to 36 holes by rain.

Only two of the top-10 seeds were left going into the quarterfinals.

The most shocking departure was Woods.

He had won 13 consecutive matches during his two-year reign of the Accenture Match Play Championship. He played Nick O'Hern, an unheralded Aussie who hasn't played in this event since he got in as the 39th alternate four years ago in Australia.

Woods was no match. O'Hern hit most of the fairways, made all of his important putts and never trailed in a 3-and-1 victory, ending the match with a 3-iron from 200 yards out of the rough to 25 feet and holing the putt.

"If I play solidly, I have a good chance of beating anyone," O'Hern said. "Tiger missed a few putts, which helped me out. But that's golf. You take your chances."

O'Hern won twice

O'Hern hardly suffered an emotional letdown. He promptly birdied his first two holes and easily beat Luke Donald of England, 5 and 4, to reach the quarterfinals against Ian Poulter of England.

Singh was the first big name out the door, and while it's always surprising when the No. 1 seed gets beaten, this one followed form. Singh has never teed off in the third round, and Jay Haas made sure that streak stayed intact with a 3-and-2 victory.

Mickelson was coming off two straight PGA Tour victories and never trailed in his first two matches, making four straight birdies early on to whip Angel Cabrera in the second round.

Toms couldn't keep up with Lefty off the tee, but he kept it in the fairways and made enough medium-length birdie putts that Mickelson began to press, only to fall further behind. The match ended on the 16th hole.

When a marathon day of two rounds in the muck at La Costa finally ended in the gloaming, it was hard to figure out who was the favorite for the $1.3 million prize.

Robert Allenby saw no advantage that the top three seeds would be watching from home.

"That just says something right there in itself," Allenby said after holding off Kirk Triplett.

"It doesn't matter who you play. Anyone in this field can win."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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