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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - World number two and Masters champion Jordan Spieth was knocked out of the WGC-Match Play Championship by England’s Lee Westwood in a dramatic match on Friday.
Westwood prevailed 2 up in an exciting contest, fighting back from an early deficit and ramming home an important 12-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole to wrestle a lead he would not relinquish.
After missing an 11-foot birdie putt on the first and then making bogey on the second hole, Westwood was two down out of the blocks.
A Spieth bogey on six and a 13-foot birdie putt for Westwood on the ninth squared the match at the turn.
Westwood took the lead a hole later when the 21-year-old American failed to get up and down from just off the green.
After the 11th hole they were square again when Spieth made a birdie from 14 feet.
The pair then traded clutch pars for three holes.
Spieth appeared in trouble when he missed the 15th green but chipped in for birdie. Westwood did not flinch and made his six-foot birdie putt to match.
A hole later it was Westwood with the heroics. After sending a greenside bunker shot over the green and leaving his next chip short in the rough, the Englishman chipped in for par and Spieth missed his 14-foot birdie chance to stay tied.
Westwood birdie the penultimate hole, leaving Spieth needing to win the 18th, a feat he was unable to do.
Hunter Mahan, the 2012 champion and 2013 runner-up, advanced to the final 16 for the fifth straight year with a crushing 5&4 win over fellow American Matt Kuchar.
Mahan has destroyed his group, winning 7&6 over Stephen Gallacher and 5&3 over Ben Martin over the opening two days.
He will face Australian upstart John Senden, who finished off his group play 3-0 with a 1 up win over Brendon Todd, knocking out world number three Henrik Stenson and former FedEx Cup champion Bill Haas in the process.
Big-hitting Gary Woodland took down former U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson 1 up to go 3-0 and set up a round of 16 clash with Australian Marc Leishman who was also undefeated after a 1 up win over India’s Anirban Lahiri.
World Number one Rory McIlroy was one down through six holes to FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel in their sudden death clash.
Editing by Gene Cherry