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Updated Feb 18, 2010, 10:09 pm
Defending Accenture Match Play champion Geoff Ogilvy lost his match Thursday against Colombian Camillo Villegas, ending the Aussie's chance at a third title.
The pair came to the 16th hole tied, but Villegas, the No. 25 seed in the tournament, birdied Nos. 16 and 17 to earn the 2 and 1 win.
"Geoff is a great player, obviously has a great record in this tournament. And he beat me last year. And funny enough, as players we think about those things," Villegas said after his win, adding that he thought maybe it was his turn.
Ogilvy, who was ranked No. 12 coming into the Match Play, left the course without talking to the media.
Youth wasn't enough to propel Northern Ireland powerhouse Rory McIlroy past Oliver Wilson on Thursday.
"I only made one birdie all day, which isn't going to do anything out here," the 19-year-old said after his 20-hole loss.
McIlroy – the No. 7 seed – didn't seem shaken after losing to the No. 39 seed.
"It's match play. It's very fickle. I could have played a lot better and lost. I could have played a little worse and won. It's just the way it is," he told the media after the match.
Wilson gave McIlroy credit.
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"It was a tough day. It's always going to be tough against Rory, and it's great for me. Even though he is only 19, he is a great player," Wilson said.
Wilson now faces fellow Brit Luke Donald on Friday.
Donald is playing the kind of golf it takes to advance in the Accenture match Play Championship: Birdie golf.
So far in his sixth Match Play appearance, the No. No. 23 seed has fired 13 birdies in 30 holes. He scraped past Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland 2 and 1 on Wednesday, then spanked Australia's Robert Allenby 6 and 5 on Thursday.
"He obviously didn't put much pressure on me," Donald said after the Allenby match.
Allenby, who hinted Wednesday at frustration in a testy exchange with a noisy volunteer on the 15th green, did not talk to the press after his loss.
Perennial fan favorite - gotta love him or hate him – Sergio Garcia of Spain advanced with a win over Denmark's Anders Hansen. Garcia, ranked No. 15 coming into the match Play, beat Hansen 2 and 1.
"It's a funny tournament, this Match Play, because some years you come here and you feel like you're playing unbelievable and you get beaten in the first or second round. And some years you come here, and you don't feel quite as great and you manage to somehow get around it," he told the media after his win.
Englishman Paul Casey, a former Arizona State University golfer who lives two hours north in the East Valley, dispatched Candian Mike Weir 5 and 4 on Thursday. He was surprised by the margin of victory.
"Very satisfying. I didn't expect that score," Casey said in a post-round news conference.
Casey is among six English golfers left in the field. There were nine at the start. Casey said it's nice to have so many countrymen in the tournament. They're all friends, but they are competitors, too, he said.
"You kind of want to be the last Englishman here," he said.
The key to the week here, where a player has to play six rounds to win, is conceiving energy. Coach Peter Kostis texted Casey after his win Wednesday and told the 32-year-old golfer to go back to the hotel and relax.
"So I went back to the hotel and worked out," Casey grinned. "Then I relaxed."
The Match Play field was narrowed from 32 to 16 today, then to eight on Friday. The final is a 36-hole marathon Sunday.