Bubba Watson joins WGC casualty list

Bubba Watson tries to play his way out of trouble on the fourth hole at Dove Mountain on February 23.

Story highlights

  • Masters champion Bubba Watson beaten in third round of Accenture World Match Play
  • He joins a series of top names to exit since snow delayed start of desert tournament
  • Former world No. 1 Martin Kaymer also misses out on quarterfinals in Arizona
  • Saturday's schedule features 36 holes due to delay earlier in the week

Another day, another big name crashes out of the World Golf Championship event at Dove Mountain.

The world's top two players, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods departed after the first round of the Accenture Match Play in Arizona, former No. 1 Luke Donald exited on Friday along with Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose, and now Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer are out of the running as well.

Masters champion Watson was beaten by Australian Jason Day in Saturday's early tee-offs, with the tournament schedule crammed due to snow at the desert course which wiped out the first day in midweek.

The American went down 4 and 3 as Day cruised into the afternoon quarterfinals, where he was to face former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell.

"Jason Day just played better," Watson, who went to four extra holes before beating Jim Furyk on Friday, wrote on Twitter.

"But my ball striking is better and excited about the rest of the year!"

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McDowell ended the dream run of Shane Lowry, who had beaten his fellow Northern Irishman McIlroy.

Lowry, who is from the Republic of Ireland, was the lowest-ranked player in the 64-man field but edged past McIlroy 1-up before defeating Sweden's world No. 35 Carl Petterson.

McDowell, ranked 19th, triumphed 3 and 2 on Saturday as he followed up his wins against Ireland's three-time major champion Padraig Harrington and world No. 51 Alexander Noren of Sweden.

Day, ranked 43rd, beat 2007 Masters winner Zach Johnson in his opening match and then disposed of American PGA Tour rookie Russell Henley -- who won the Sony Open in Hawaii last month.

"It was just really steady golf," Day said. "Bubba gave me a couple early on and I just tried to hold that lead, and I tried to extend it.

"I think I was four under through 14 holes, so overall very, very happy with how I played."

Former world No. 1 Kaymer was thrashed 5 and 4 by 25th-ranked defending champion Hunter Mahan, who earned a quarterfinal against U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson.

Mahan has now been ahead in every match he has played at the tournament since the sixth hole of last year's opening match -- a run of 133 holes.

"If you hit fairways and greens, you know you're going to put pressure on your guy," the American said after his win over the 2011 runner-up, which avenged that year's third-round defeat to the German.

"It's definitely nice to get a lead and that's the goal for everybody, but to do it, it's a good feeling for sure."

Simpson, ranked 17th, won 2-up against Spain's No. 33 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.

England's Ian Poulter, the 2010 Match Play winner, set up a clash with 2001 champion Steve Stricker.

Poulter thrashed South Africa's Tim Clark 5 and 3 while veteran American Stricker beat Donald's conqueror Scott Piercy.

"Quick bite for lunch and then another match this afternoon," Poulter, playing in his first tournament for six weeks, wrote on Twitter.

"Keep plugging away and stay out of trouble."

The other quarterfinal was between Americans Matt Kuchar, who last year reached fifth in the world rankings before dropping to 23rd now, and big-hitting Arizona-based No. 38 Robert Garrigus.