Notebook: Austin proving to be a tough customer

MARANA, Ariz. (AP) — Woody Austin was at his self-deprecating best Thursday in the Accenture Match Play Championship.

Having already three-putted twice to give away holes, Austin had a 45-foot birdie attempt that was struck so poorly it turned off the slope and stayed 15 feet left of the cup.

"Greatest putter in the history of golf," he said to himself as the gallery stifled a laugh.

Trying to stay in the match, he thought a 20-foot birdie putt was right in the heart on the 16th, but when it burned the edge, Austin looked toward the heavens, raised his hands and began clapping, as if to say, "Good work, God, you really know how to stick it to me."

Austin was up to his old antics at Dove Mountain, but there is no mistaking his grit.

He made an impressive debut at the Presidents Cup, despite falling face-first into the water, and he is 2-0 in his debut at this fickle tournament. Austin advanced out of the second round against Adam Scott in a match that never looked like he would win.

"I will never give up. I think I proved that," he said after winning in 19 holes.

Scott was 2 up with four holes to play until an unseemly collapse, and some clutch putting by Austin.

Austin holed a 6-foot birdie on the 15th, and stayed alive when Scott missed from the same distance on the 16th. It looked as though the match would end on the 17th when Austin hit an eagle putt from the fringe 8 feet left of the hole, and Scott lagged his eagle putt to 3 feet. Austin made his birdie, Scott missed and they went to the 18th all square.

Austin hit into a bunker, so close to the lip that he had one foot in the grass and couldn't reach the green. His wedge spun back to 8 feet, and the par putt fell on the last turn to send the match to extra holes.

It ended quickly, when Scott missed a 10-foot birdie and Austin made his from 4 feet.

"My putter got me down, and then my putter saved me," Austin said.

He once got so irritated that he bashed his putter against his head until it broke, so it was surprising to hear that Austin has kept this putter for the last 2 1/2 years.

"I've been behaving myself," he said.

Austin said he has missed only two shots in two rounds, and indeed, this was a well-played match. Scott shot 67, didn't make a bogey and missed only one green in regulation. Austin had 28 putts through the first 14 holes, then one-putted four of the last five.

Scott missed three putts inside 10 feet over the last four holes, and faced a long, lonely walk to the clubhouse.

"I think our No. 1 player found that out yesterday - you have to get lucky," Austin said. "Even him."

TOMS OUT: David Toms had advanced to the third round each of the last six years, the longest streak at this tournament, but he never got a chance on Thursday. His back began acting up late in his opening-round victory over Zach Johnson, and he was forced to withdraw before playing Aaron Baddeley.

PGA Tour News
Travel & Courses
Tips & Videos
The Shop
Equipment News & Reviews