Woods storms into World Match Play final against Love

CARLSBAD (California): Davis Love III birdied the 21st hole to edge out Darren Clarke on Saturday and clinch a final showdown with world number one Tiger Woods at the WGC-World Match Play Championship. 

Clarke went two up at the 16th but bogeyed the 17th while his opponent parred. Love then took the contest into extra holes when he birdied the 18th and the Northern Irishman parred. 

Defending champion Woods never trailed in his semi-final with Stephen Leaney and put out the Australian 2 and 1 at La Costa Resort & Spa. 

Leaney levelled the match with a par at the ninth but Woods won the next two holes. 

The Australian drew level again with a birdie at the 13th before Woods birdied the 16th and 17th to complete victory. 

In the quarter-finals earlier in the day, Woods eliminated Ireland's Padraig Harrington 2 and 1 while Love defeated Phil Mickelson one up. 

Love said he made a mistake against Clarke when he tried to sink his birdie putt at the 16th but ran the ball eight feet past the hole and failed to make par. 

“I was trying to make it and I ran it by,” Love told reporters. “I felt like the match was really over.  

“Then walking over to 17, I said, 'you can't give up, you never know what will happen'. 

“Sure enough, he hit it right and made a bogey. Then I won 18 and it's another little match.” 

Woods said his birdie at the 16th was the key to his victory. 

“Sixteen was the hole I needed,” he said. “He (Leaney) had the momentum. 

“He won 13 and that putt looked like it probably could have gone five, six, seven feet by the hole with no problem, and it goes right in the middle, so he takes all the momentum there away from me.” 

Leaney pushed his tee shot right at the 16th, then knocked his second into a greenside bunker. His sand shot skimmed over the lip of the trap and nestled about a foot away from the hole for a certain par. 

“He played just a beautiful bunker shot and almost holed it,” Woods said. “I knew if I could somehow bury my putt I could grab the momentum back.  

“On top of that, it would give me a little bit of a crutch with two holes to go.” 

The victory took Woods's record in the event to 19 wins and three defeats. 

“It was a tough match because Stephen is a wonderful driver of the golf ball, and then these fairways, being as soft as they are, it makes it wider for him. 

“I knew he was going to hit just about every fairway. On top of that, he made some great putts today for pars and birdies and basically put a lot of pressure on me.” – Reuters  

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