Tiger Woods knocks off Rory McIlroy in heavyweight Match Play battle

Three-time champion Tiger Woods advanced to the WGC Match Play quarter-finals with a 2&1 win in his eagerly awaited duel with Rory McIlroy.

"It was a tough match for both of us, " Woods said of the match with McIlroy. But against the Dane in his Match Play debut, Woods flubbed a wedge into a bunker and missed a short par putt to lose. Needing to defeat Cantlay to move on, Tiger was down two after eight holes. Then came the eagle at the 13th and another birdie at the 14th, with Woods playing a six-hole stretch from the 11th to the 16th in 6 under par.

Match stats: Holes won - Kuchar 5, Bjerregaard 4.

"I got up early and played some good golf on the front nine", McIlroy said. Woods, buried in a bunker off the tee, hit his third shot before McIlroy had to hit his second.

McIlroy advanced from his group with a 4 and 2 win over England's Matthew Fitzpatrick and was similarly excited for the showdown against 14-time major victor Woods.

And on the final hole, Woods blinked first.

The match was tied going to the par-4 18th.

"This is going to sting for a few days, " Woods said in his last event before the Masters.

"It's awesome for the tournament, I think", McIlroy said. "I got scrappy toward the end but I'm through and I'm looking forward to tomorrow".

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In today's semi-finals, Bjerregaard will meet Matt Kuchar while Francesco Molinari, who has simply breezed through five matches already, will face Kevin Kisner. I said, 'I didn't want that to be how a hole was won or lost'.

Woods chipped into a bunker and blasted out while Bjerregaard missed a 17-foot birdie putt only to have Woods lip out for par from four feet to fall victim in a shocker.

At the par-5 sixth, Woods chipped from the fairway to three feet and sank his birdie putt for a 2-up edge.

Woods had led 3-up through 10 holes, then saw McIlroy fight back with a chance to tie before making a mess of the 16th hole, one he appeared destined to win but ended up conceding. The dream didn't include beating him.

McIlroy looked set to regain that hole at the sixth when Woods found the fairway bunker but the American fired a fine five wood just short of the green before nearly holing out a superb up-and-down.

Woods never had to putt.

Tiger Woods is advancing to the round of 16 with his win over Patrick Cantlay and Brandt Snedeker's loss to Aaron Wise.

In the first match play meeting between the pair, 2015 victor McIlroy missed a series of putts to the right and three-putted the 10th to go three down.

  • Lawrence Cooper