Hunter Mahan did all his damage on the front nine as he faced Rory McIlroy in the 2012 Accenture Match Play championship match, then had to hang on down the wire. After an even first five holes, Mahan strung together three-straight winning holes, quickly taking a 3-up lead over McIlroy. Though McIlroy did attempt to make a run down the stretch, Mahan's lead proved to be insurmountable as he took the title with a 2 & 1 win.
Mahan got the streak started with a birdie on No. 6, besting McIlroy's par on the hole. Both players made a mess of the seventh hole, with Mahan's bogey holding up against McIlroy's double-bogey. On the par five eighth, Mahan parred the hole while McIlroy carded a bogey, stretching the lead to three.
On the back nine, Mahan padded his lead with a birdie on No. 11 -- the fourth hole he won on the day. Finally, McIlroy answered, taking the 12th to slow Mahan down just a bit. After three halved holes, McIlroy won his second hole of the day with a birdie on No. 14, cutting the deficit to two holes.
But that was as close as McIlroy would get. The two halved the next three holes and McIlroy ran out of real estate as Mahan hung on to seal the victory.
McIlroy was playing for a chance to be world No. 1 after a strong week at the premier match play event. With a win over Mahan, he would've moved into the No. 1 spot, but instead will have to wait a bit.
In the consolation match, Mark Wilson knocked off Lee Westwood, 1-up, for third place.