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Woods slumps out of WGC Match Play

TIGER Woods' first PGA Tour appearance in eight months came to a shuddering halt when he was upset 4&2 by South African Tim Clark at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships in Arizona on Thursday.

The American world No. 1, back in action after injury for the first time since winning the US Open, squandered an early one-hole lead before losing the second-round match on the 16th green.

Woods, the defending champion, went one up with a birdie at the second before being overhauled as world No. 33 Clark rattled off four birdies in six holes around the turn.

Clark, who was hammered 5&4 by Woods in the second round two years ago, sealed victory with a conceded birdie at the par-three 16th.

"I felt good today, I went out there and hit the ball well," Woods, 33, said after losing for only the fourth time in his last 28 matches at the event.

"I just happened to catch Tim playing really well and I didn't make enough birdies to answer him."

Top seed Woods, who beat Australian Brendan Jones 3&2 on Wednesday in his return to the Tour after recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, was largely satisfied with his abbreviated trip to the Arizona desert.

"I'm very pleased actually with the way I hit the golf ball," he said. "I didn't make enough birdies today. I made some yesterday, just didn't make enough today. But I hit the ball well the last two days and that's encouraging.

"Also the way my leg feels after walking, and especially on this golf course, going up and down the cart paths, especially down the cart paths, my leg feels pretty good."

Phil Mickelson at No. 5 was the highest seed still alive heading into the third round, having survived another late collapse to hang on for a 1-up victory over fellow Masters champion Zach Johnson.

The most compelling match of the third round will pit No. 8 seed Geoff Ogilvy against No. 9 seed Camilo Villegas, two players living up to their form in the most unpredictable tournament in golf.

Ogilvy won in 19 holes against Shingo Katayama, the second straight day the Australian has gone to extra holes to win. That may be an omen, as Ogilvy also went to extra holes in his first two matches back in 2006 when he won at La Costa. Villegas by contrast has needed only 26 holes to win two matches.

Attention will also turn to Rory McIlroy, the 19-year-old from Northern Ireland who won in Dubai last month and is the latest youngster tipped to possibly emerge to challenge Woods.


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