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Mickelson Cinks as McIlroy ousts Clark

PHIL Mickelson was the biggest name to fall at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on Friday, losing by a hole to fellow American Stewart Cink in the third round in Marana, Arizona.

Although fifth seed Mickelson clawed his way back from three down after six holes to level the contest with two to play, he double-bogeyed 17 before matching Cink's par at the last.

"He birdied three of the first four holes and I didn't match him," left-hander Mickelson told reporters on another hot day at Dove Mountain's Ritz-Carlton Golf Club.

"I felt like I hit the ball better today, even though coming down the stretch I hit a couple of squirrelly (poor) ones that cost me.

"Stewart is playing very well," he said of the golfer beaten in last year's final by Tiger Woods.

"He was hitting a lot of solid shots and early in the round he made a lot of putts. That's what you need."

Mickelson's exit left the elite event without any of the top five seeds, top-ranked Woods and fourth seed Vijay Singh having been eliminated in Thursday's second round.

Second-seeded Spaniard Sergio Garcia and Irishman Padraig Harrington (third) made premature departures on Wednesday.

Britain's Ross Fisher, making his first appearance in the event, upset the experienced Jim Furyk 4&3 to book his place in the quarterfinals.

A double winner on the European Tour, Fisher birdied three of the first six holes to go three up before sealing victory with a four-foot birdie putt at the par-four 15th.

British teenager Rory McIlroy outplayed South African Tim Clark 4&3 and Ernie Els reached the last eight for the first time since 2001 after a concession by Britain's Luke Donald, who opted not to play the 18th hole because of a sore wrist.

McIlroy, who won his maiden European Tour title at this month's Dubai Desert Classic, birdied four of the first eight holes to take charge against Clark.

Clark, who had stunned three-time champion Woods the previous day, claimed one back with a superb approach to two feet at the seventh but the 19-year-old from Holywood, Northern Ireland, tightened his grip with birdies at the eighth and 13th.

South African Els, helped by three consecutive birdies from the seventh, was one up when Donald conceded their match.

Australian eighth seed Geoff Ogilvy, champion at La Costa in 2006, beat Colombia's Camilo Villegas 2&1 and American Justin Leonard scraped past Britain's Oliver Wilson after 19 holes. Paul Casey of Britain outclassed Swede Peter Hanson 4&2 and American Sean O'Hair came from two down after five holes to beat Briton Ian Poulter 2&1.


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