MARANA, Ariz. (AP) - Youth gave way to power in the Match Play Championship on Friday with J.B. Holmes and Bubba Watson blasting away in the high desert to advance to the quarterfinals at Dove Mountain.
No one has looked more impressive this week than Watson, who has played only 43 holes in three matches and is the only player still in the tournament who has yet to reach the 17th hole at The Ritz-Carlton Club.
He was long and straight against two-time champion Geoff Ogilvy, who didn't have much of a chance. Watson was 7 under through 13 holes and had 10 feet for birdie when Ogilvy hit into the sand and conceded the 6-and-4 win.
"I didn't play that bad," Ogilvy said. "I didn't play '6-and-4' bad."
Then came Holmes with his black glove and ferocious swing, not always knowing where it was going. He applied enough pressure on Jason Day to win the last two holes and escape with a 1-up victory.
That sets up a Holmes-Watson quarterfinal that should be anything but elementary.
"It should be fun," Holmes said. "Me and Bubba move it out there pretty good."
The 23-year-old Day was among several youngster headed off the mountain. Matteo Manassero, the 17-year-old Italian, fell behind early against Luke Donald and a late rally wasn't nearly enough. Donald made par on the 16th to close him out.
Rickie Fowler, the 22-year-old who on Thursday gave Phil Mickelson his worst loss ever in this tournament, went with a San Diego Chargers color scheme and got about the same results. Fowler took too many adventures into the desert in dropping the first three holes on the back nine and lost, 2 and 1, to Matt Kuchar.
The youngest player who advanced was Martin Kaymer, the 26-year-old German, who happens to be the best player in the quarterfinals. The PGA champion and No. 2 seed had to rally on the back nine against Hunter Mahan, and the match ended on the 17th hole with a chip that is certain to stir Ryder Cup memories for Mahan.
Kaymer was 1 up and went long and left with his approach. Mahan did the same, and needed to at least escape with par to have any chance. Instead, he muffed yet another chip that barely got up the hill, well short of the green. He chipped long and made double bogey.
Mahan also flubbed a chip at the Ryder Cup on the 17th hole, although he was a long shot to win his match against Graeme McDowell. Still, it was an image that sticks among the key moments from Wales, and his finish against Kaymer won't help erase that memory.
Kaymer advances to play Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain, at 47 the oldest player in the field who gave Ben Crane another short day at the office, with a different emotion. Crane, whose 8-and-7 win on Thursday was the second-largest margin in tournament history, didn't make a birdie until the 11th hole and lost, 7 and 6.
With cold weather due Sunday, the schedule was changed to avoid frost delays. The quarterfinals will be Saturday morning, followed by the semifinals.
If Kaymer wins two more matches, he is assured of becoming No. 1 in the world. But the "Germanator" is thinking only of his next match, and hopeful he is still around on Sunday.
"If I can get up one more spot in the world rankings, of course I wouldn't mind it," he said. "But I think I'll have a chance the next few weeks, months, as well."
In other matches:
- Ryan Moore holed a 10-foot birdie putt on the 19th hole to defeat Nick Watney, who had birdied the last two holes to extend the match. In a cruel example of match play, Watney had nine birdies in 19 holes and lost. Kuchar made three birdies in 17 holes to beat Fowler. Moore is the lowest seed still alive at No. 48.
- Y.E. Yang continued his surprising run by beating U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell in a tight match until the South Korean won the last three holes with birdies, chipping in from behind the 16th green for a 3-and-2 win.
Watson's performance has been so dominant that he has led every hole he has played for three days. He has won the opening hole all three rounds and closed out matches on the 16th hole, 13th hole and 14th hole.
He won Friday against Ogilvy, whose record in this fickle event fell to 20-4.
Watson won last month at Torrey Pines and credits his recent success to his father dying, which he says has allowed to keep life in perspective and not get too worked up over golf. This format can be unnerving, however, and Watson has been trying to keep calm. Based on his shots, it appears to be working.
"Hit a lot of good putts, a lot of good iron shots. Haven't missed that many fairways, probably no more than five all three days," Watson said. "So it's been good so far. And I've won every time, so it works out."
No one feels more grateful than Holmes, who didn't even get into the 64-man field until Tuesday when Tim Clark withdrew. He took over the No. 22 seed in the bracket, but technically could be considered No. 65.
The lowest seed to win was Kevin Sutherland at No. 62 in 2002.
Holmes only saw this course for the first time Wednesday when he beat Camilo Villegas. He is not driving it straight, but it is going long. That power figures to be on full display against Watson on Saturday.
And if this format were not already unpredictable, the forecast is more wind upward of 20 mph.
"If that puts more people in the desert, that will give me an advantage," Holmes said. "I've been practicing out of there."