Woods meets his match against Bjer­re­gaard

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Sports - BY DOUG FER­GU­SON

Tiger Woods fi­nally met his match Satur­day, and it wasn’t Rory McIl­roy.

Lu­cas Bjer­re­gaard de­liv­ered the clutch shots so of­ten seen from Woods to tie the match on the 16th hole and beat him on the 18th hole in a shock­ing con­clu­sion when Woods missed a 4-foot putt. The vic­tory sends the 27-yearold Dane into the semi­fi­nals of the Dell Tech­nolo­gies Match Play.

“It’s a shame it had to end the way it did,” Bjer­re­gaard said. “Our match didn’t de­serve that. But I’m happy to be on the win­ning side.”

Equally sur­pris­ing was how Woods won ear­lier Satur­day against McIl­roy, a big match be­tween the two big­gest stars left at Austin Coun­try Club. McIl­roy was on the verge of squar­ing the match on the 16th hole when he had a short iron for his se­cond shot into the par-5 16th. He made 7 and Woods closed him out on the next hole.

McIl­roy was so an­gry he walked briskly away into a cart, and wouldn’t make eye con­tact on his way to the car.

Woods knows the feel­ing.

They were in the same spot be­low the hill on the 18th, just un­der 50 yards from the hole. Woods went first and his lob wedge came out soft and into a bunker. He blasted out nicely to 4 feet, but then his putt to send the match to ex­tra holes spun off the left lip.

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

Bjer­re­gaard, who won his first Euro­pean Tour ti­tle last fall at St. An­drews in the Dunhill Links, next faces Matt Kuchar on Sun­day morn­ing in the semi­fi­nals.

Kuchar had to cope with a con­tentious mo­ment in his 2-up vic­tory over Ser­gio Gar­cia, two play­ers in the news this year for all the wrong rea­sons.

Gar­cia had an 8-foot par putt on No. 7 to win the hole to square the match. He left it just short, and then ca­su­ally stabbed at it from the other side as it rimmed around the cup. Such putts typ­i­cally are con­ceded. Kuchar said that was his in­ten­tion.

ERIC GAY AP

Tiger Woods watches his drive on the eighth hole dur­ing fourth round play at the Dell Tech­nolo­gies Match Play Cham­pi­onship on Satur­day in Austin, Texas. Woods de­feated Rory McIl­roy to ad­vance to the quar­ter­fi­nals.

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