MARANA, Arizona (AFP) –
The semi-finals of the WGC Match Play Championship will feature a clash between two stars of the fickle format: defending champion Hunter Mahan and 2010 winner Ian Poulter.
England‘s Poulter put away Steve Stricker 3 and 2 in the quarter-finals, spoiling his American opponent’s 46th birthday.
Mahan, trying to join Tiger Woods as the only players to win back-to-back titles in this event, defeated US Open champion Webb Simpson 1-up.
Sunday morning’s other semi-final will pit Australian Jason Day against American Matt Kuchar.
Kuchar defeated compatriot Robert Garrigus 3 and 2 in the quarter-finals and Day downed former US Open winner Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland 1-up.
Earlier Saturday, Day ousted reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson 4 and 3.
McDowell ended Irishman Shane Lowry’s dream run with a 3 and 2 third-round victory.
Lowry had toppled world number one Rory McIlroy in the first round on Thursday en route to becoming the first 64th seed to reach the third round of the event.
McIlroy led a parade of top seeds out of the tournament in the first two rounds.
Three-time champion Woods, the world number two and second seed, also exited in the first round, while the overall third, fourth and fifth seeds — Luke Donald, Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Rose — all lost in the second round on Friday.