Experience and previous success can be great things to have on your side, but a major championship résumé didn't mean much on Saturday with three of the four major winners losing in the quarterfinal round of the WGC Accenture Match Play.
Each quarterfinal match featured a battle of young vs. old. On one side, there was a veteran and major championship winner. The other side of each match featured a rising star in the sport, none older than 26. Youth came away on top, with Ernie Els the only older player to advance. We're now left with what should be a very interesting pair of semifinal matchups. Before we take a look ahead, let's see how the players got there.
Bobby Jones Bracket
No. 2 Jason Day def. No. 8 Louis Oosthuizen - 2 and 1
Day continued his excellent run with a 2 and 1 victory over Oosthuizen. The two traded holes early on. Day went 1-up, only to have Oosthuizen win two straight to gain the advantage. Day answered right back with back-to-back wins to go 1-up through five holes. He never relinquished the advantage. He was 3-up through 12 before Oosthuizen got one back at No. 13. The players halved the next four holes, allowing Day to come away with the win.
Gary Player Bracket
No 8 Ernie Els def. No. 3 Jordan Spieth - 4 and 2
Els has advanced through the tournament despite not playing exceptionally well. He played his best round of the week on Saturday. He gained the advantage with a birdie on the second hole and never trailed in the match. Spieth squared the match twice before Els took the lead for good with a birdie on No. 8. Els moved on to the semifinal despite playing the course at 2-over throughout the week, 10 strokes worse than any of the other semifinalists, according to Jamie Kennedy.
#WGCMatchplay semi-finalists (to par): -16 Jason Day -15 -14 -13 -12 Fowler -11 -10 Dubuisson -9 -8 -7 -6 -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 L +1 +2 Ernie Els— Jamie Kennedy (@jamieonsport) February 22, 2014
Ben Hogan Bracket
No. 14 Rickie Fowler def. No. 5 Jim Furyk - 1 up
Despite holding a healthy lead for most of the match, Fowler needed a late comeback to secure the win. He birdied three of his first four holes to go 3-up through four. He remained in the lead through most of the match and was 3-up heading to the 13th hole. Three straight Furyk birdies and a Fowler bogey later, and it was Furyk in the lead at 1-up with two to play. Furyk's run came to an end, however, as back-to-back bogeys to finish the match allowed Fowler to square it on No. 17 and win it with a par on No. 18.
Sam Snead Bracket
No. 7 Victor Dubuisson def. No. 4 Graeme McDowell - 1 up
McDowell pulled off late comebacks during the first three rounds, but was unable to find that same magic on Saturday. Unlike the first three rounds, McDowell jumped out to an early lead and was 2-up through three. Dubuisson battled back and the two were square through 15 holes. A birdie on No. 16 put Dubuisson in the lead and McDowell was unable to win either of the final two holes, ending his run.
No. 2 Jason Day vs. No. 14 Rickie Fowler
Two of the rising stars in golf will go head-to-head in the semis. Day played extremely well all week, while Fowler hasn't been far behind. The winner will likely be the favorite heading into the championship match.
No. 8 Ernie Els vs. No. 7 Victor Dubuisson
Dubuisson is the least-known of the four semifinalists, but he continues to play very well. The 23-year-old has acquitted himself well, playing in his first WGC event. Els continues to advance, despite being over par in strokes for the week.