Golf: Day downs champs for tilt at semifinals

Jason Day watches his tee shot off the 11th hole in the quarter-final against Graeme McDowell. Photo / AP
Jason Day watches his tee shot off the 11th hole in the quarter-final against Graeme McDowell. Photo / AP

Jason Day stormed into the final four of the World Golf Championships Match Play yesterday by taking down two major champions in one day.

Day beat Masters champion Bubba Watson 4 and 3 in the round of 16 before outlasting former US Open champion Graeme McDowell 1-up in an afternoon quarter-final.

It pushed the 25-year-old Australian into a match-up with American Matt Kuchar for a berth in the final against defending champion Hunter Mahan or match play specialist Ian Poulter.

Kuchar defeated fellow American Robert Garrigus 3 and 2 to book his spot against Day, while Mahan beat Webb Simpson 1-up and Poulter took down Steve Stricker 3 and 2.

"It was very stressful out there today. I feel like my mind is going every which way right now," Day said.

"Just to play the way I did on the back nine was very, very special. The whole game today felt really, really nice and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

"Myself and G-Mac, we really didn't play our best, but you've just got to do enough.

"I've got Matt Kuchar tomorrow, and I know he's very slow and steady, hits a lot of fairways and greens and can roll the rock when he can, and I'm looking forward to that."

Day never trailed Watson but didn't have the same luxury against McDowell, falling two down through three holes. But he clawed back to all square on the seventh and took the lead on the 11th with a birdie.

He had numerous chances throughout the match to make moves but his usually hot putter was surprisingly cold. When he lost the 14th hole to be back square, the match become a real nailbiter.

Day won the 15th and McDowell the 16th before the Northern Irishman slipped with a bogey on 17. This allowed Day a 1-up lead down the last.

When McDowell couldn't convert a tricky downhill birdie from 4.5m on the last, all Day had to do was tap in from 60cm to advance.

"For some reason, I just knew it was going to go to 18," Day said.

"G-Mac sticks around. He's obviously played on a lot of the European Ryder Cup teams, and he's very experienced when it comes to a lot of pressure and the match play format.

"So I'm very, very excited that I had the chance to get it 1-up."

-AAP

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