Johannesburg – Tim Clark was the sole South African to make it through the second round of the Match Play Championship, a World Golf Championship event in Marana, Arizona on Friday.
Clark beat Dane Thorbjorn Olesen three and two, and the Umkomaaster was in control for the whole match.
Louis Oosthuizen lost to American Robert Garrigus (who had beaten South African Branden Grace in the first round) three and two, while Richard Sterne went down four and three to American Hunter Mahan.
Clark was never down in the match after winning the third hole, and was three up after the tenth.
Though he lost the 12th hole, Clark came back to win the 14th to reclaim his three up advantage. Clark closed out the match with a half on the 16th for the victory.
“Well, it was a match I played well,” said Clark afterwards.
Clark, one of the shortest hitters on tour, said his ball striking was one of his strengths on the day.
“That's the best I've probably hit the ball all year, to be honest with you.”
The man Gary Player calls his 'bulldog' was always in control against the Dane.
“He made a bunch of good saves the front nine, kept the match close, and then I kind of won a couple holes there, and then sort of midway through the back nine, we both started making birdies.”
“It's a match that kind of changed around, but I pretty much stuck to my game plan and was able to pull it out.”
Clark's play was much better than his first round win over Australian Adam Scott, with both playing scrappy golf.
“I felt terrible because yesterday (Thursday) was not a good day. I didn't feel good at all.”
“I don't know what it was, but I was very nervous in the match yesterday. But today was completely different, I was like a different person, very in control of my swing, and like I say, if I look back at the round, I don't remember mis-hitting a golf shot.”
The 37-year-old who had battled injury in the past two seasons, was pleased to have his game returning.
“Everything was right where I wanted it.
“It's nice to have that turnaround this quickly, and I think it's probably a lot due to the match yesterday, the fact that I felt so bad but was still able to play reasonably well really gave me confidence coming out here today.”
Clark will face matchplay-ace Ian Poulter of England in the round of 16.
Oosthuizen was off to a slow start as he lost the first two holes, but brought it back to all square after four. Oosthuizen, however, was never up on his big-hitting opponent and Garrigus piled on the pressure by winning the ninth, tenth and 13th holes.
Oosthuizen, the fifth ranked player in the world, was unable to stage a comeback and shook hands with Garrigus on the 16th.
Sterne, meanwhile, had the match all square with Hunter Mahan as the pair made the turn.
Mahan clicked into gear at that point and won four holes in a row to close out the South African by the 15th hole. – Sapa