Mahan, Poulter to clash in semifinal

Defending champion Hunter Mahan and 2010 winner Ian Poulter set up a mouth-watering showdown in the last four of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship by winning their quarterfinals on Saturday.

American Mahan triumphed 1-up after a tight match with US Open winner Webb Simpson while Briton Poulter advanced with a commanding 3&2 victory over American veteran Steve Stricker on a sun-splashed afternoon at Dove Mountain.

Sunday morning’s other semifinal will be contested between American Matt Kuchar and Australian Jason Day, at 25 the youngest player left in the draw.

Kuchar became the first player to reach the last four, beating compatriot Robert Garrigus 3&2, before Day battled past Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell 1-up in a closely contested encounter.

Most eyes, however, will be firmly focused on the battle between Mahan and Poulter who are both bidding to reach the Match Play final for a second time in their careers.

Poulter will be a little fresher, having gone 4-up on 2001 Match Play champion Stricker after 12 holes before wrapping up his win by sinking a 10-foot par putt at the short 16th.

The flamboyant Englishman, who is renowned for his matchplay grit and superb putting, went ahead for the first time at the par-three third where he sank a double-breaking 40-footer for birdie while Stricker missed his attempt from seven feet.

“It looks like Steve is going to be going up right there, and I hole, he misses,” a smiling Poulter told reporters after recording six birdies and an eagle in 16 holes.
“And from then on I sort of took over and got myself in front.

“I knew I had to bring my game this afternoon to be able to match up against Steve.”
Stricker, who celebrated his 46th birthday on Saturday, had reached the quarterfinals with a sizzling eight-birdie display earlier in the day when he beat fellow American Scott Piercy 1-up.

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