MARANA, Arizona (Reuters) - Former champion Luke Donald was the biggest name to fall in the second round of the snow-delayed WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship after being pummeled 7&6 by American Scott Piercy on Friday.
The British world number three was totally outplayed by Piercy, who was effectively seven under par on his ball after being conceded a four-foot birdie putt at the short 12th to seal the win.
Piercy spectacularly holed out from 228 yards to eagle the par-four fifth, then birdied the sixth, eighth and ninth to go 6up on Donald by the turn on a sunny but cool and breezy day at Dove Mountain.
”Scott played very well, I played just very average,“ 2011 Match Play champion Donald told reporters. ”I probably didn’t drive it well enough today to put any pressure on Scott.
“He was just playing extremely solid, didn’t give me really a look. I had a few opportunities on the greens, but for whatever reason I was just not making the putts today, and hence I‘m going home.”
Making his first appearance in the elite World Golf Championships (WGC) event, Piercy will next meet either Steve Stricker or Nick Watney. Stricker was 1up on fellow American Watney after 15 holes.
“I played really solid today,” said double PGA Tour champion Piercy, whose 7&6 margin of victory has been eclipsed only five times at this event.
”I hit every green in regulation. I got up early and tried to lean on him once I got up. It was just a solid day all around.
“I think he was off a little bit,” the American said of Donald who double-bogeyed the opening hole. “From the first tee shot it didn’t look like Luke. I just tried to make some birdies and stay out ahead of him.”
The stunning departure of Donald follows the premature exits on Thursday of Northern Irish world number one Rory McIlroy and three-times champion Tiger Woods.
McIlroy, a losing finalist last year, was eliminated 1up by Ireland’s Shane Lowry and Woods was ousted 2&1 by fellow American Charles Howell III.
World number 68 Lowry continued his winning form on Friday, making five birdies in a flawless display on the way to a commanding 6&5 victory over Swede Carl Pettersson.
Long-hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts became the first player to reach the third round with a 4&2 upset win over British world number six Justin Rose on Friday.
Colsaerts, who lost in the opening round last year on his debut at the event, took control with three birdies in the first eight holes before sealing victory with a par at the short 16th, where Rose bogeyed.
Nicknamed the ‘Belgian Bomber’ because of his power hitting, Colsaerts will next face American Matt Kuchar, who beat Spaniard Sergio Garcia 2&1 in a closely contested match between two Ryder Cup players.
Ian Poulter, the 2010 champion, also advanced with a 3&1 victory over American Bo Van Pelt to set up a third-round meeting with South African Tim Clark, who beat Dane Thorbjorn Olesen 3&2.
“I had seven birdies, no bogeys, and when you play like that, and you don’t give your opponent anything, then obviously it’s going to be a tough day for him,” said matchplay specialist Poulter with a smile.
“So I‘m very pleased how I took some of the mistakes from yesterday away and kept it a very clean card.”
Defending champion Hunter Mahan never trailed on the way to a commanding 4&3 win against South African Richard Sterne and he will take on Germany’s Martin Kaymer in the next round.
Kaymer, who lost 3&2 to Donald in the 2011 Match Play Championship final, advanced by beating Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello 2&1.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Steve Keating/Gene Cherry