MARANA, Ariz. (AP) – Brandt Snedeker took advantage of Kyle Stanley's late meltdown – again.
Four weeks after beating Stanley in a playoff at Torrey Pines, Snedeker topped Stanley 2 and 1 on Thursday in the second round of the Match Play Championship.
“We've got some history going on,'' Snedeker said. “He's a great guy. I played really good today. We just gave each other a few too many holes.''
At Torrey Pines, Stanley led by seven shots early in the final round, and still had a four-shot lead as he stood on the tee at the par-5 18th. But his third shot had too much spin and didn't get high enough on the green, spinning down the slope and into the water. He three-putted from 45 feet, then lost to Snedeker on the second playoff hole when his 5-foot par putt caught the right edge of the cup.
On Thursday at Dove Mountain, Stanley bogeyed the final three holes. Snedeker won the par-4 15th and par-3 16th with pars, then matched Stanley's bogey on the par-4 17th for a halve to close out the victory.
Stanley rebounded quickly after the devastating loss at Torrey Pines, overcoming an eight-stroke deficit a week later to win the Phoenix Open.
Snedeker will play Peter Hanson on Friday.
“If he gets his putter working, he's pretty tough to beat,'' Snedeker said. “So, I know I've got my hands full tomorrow. I've just got to go out there and hit a lot of fairways and hit a lot of greens and put some pressure on him.''
Hansen beat Ernie Els 5 and 4.
HORSING AROUND: Lee Westwood took a break on the driving range before his second-round match to watch a horse race on his phone.
“I had a horse running in Dubai about an hour before I teed off,'' Westwood said. “Rerouted. It's a good horse, just doesn't win. At least it came in second, which I can sympathize with to a certain extent.''
The third-ranked Westwood, in position to take the top spot from Luke Donald with a victory in the final Sunday, beat Robert Karlsson 3 and 2 to set up a third-round match against Nick Watney – a 1-up winner over Tiger Woods.
“The further you get and the more you play, the more confident you become, and more you get used to playing the golf course, the shots around the greens and the speed of the greens,'' Westwood said. “I'm a pretty good match play as the record suggests in other match play events. I feel the way I'm playing, I'll be tough to beat.''
The English star reached the third round for the first time in 12 appearances in the event. He lost to Watney in the second round the last two years.
“I'm normally watching it at home on TV,'' Westwood said. “It's good to watch, but I'm hoping it's better to play.''
Second-ranked Rory McIlroy also can take the No. 1 spot with a tournament victory.
“Everyone keeps telling me, so it's hard to put it out of my mind,'' McIlroy said. “It's a little bit of extra motivation this week knowing that if I can get through four more matches, I could go to the top of the world ranking.''
He beat Anders Hansen 3 and 2 to advance to play Miguel Angel Jimenez.
BIRDIE HUNTER: Hunter Mahan had nine birdies – the last two conceded – in 15 holes in his 5-and-3 victory over Y.E. Yang.
Mahan also had three pars and three bogeys.
Mahan dropped the first hole with a bogey, pulled even with a birdie on the par-5 second, and lost the par-3 third with a par. He birdied Nos. 4-8 – holing out from a bunker on the par-3 sixth – to take a 4-up lead.
“I was playing as well as I could, hitting fairways and greens, giving myself good looks,'' Mahan said. “If you hit it good around here, where these pins are, and you get on the right level, you are going to have some putts.''
He lost Nos. 9 and 10 with bogeys, then halved the next two with pars, and birdied the final three. Yang conceded putts of 12 and 6 feet on the last two.
Mahan will face Ryder and Presidents Cup teammate Steve Stricker on Friday. Stricker celebrated his 45th birthday with a 1-up victory over Louis Oosthuizen.
“He's a great guy to talk to,'' Mahan said. “He's so open, so nice. I mean, he's just a normal guy who plays golf for a living and that's it. There's no more. There's no celebrity to him whatsoever. He's a great guy to be around.''
In 2008, Stricker beat Mahan in 20 holes in the second round.
LONG AND SHORT: Dustin Johnson routed Francesco Molinari 7 and 5 a day after needing 20 holes to beat Jim Furyk.
Johnson won when Molinari conceded a 12-foot eagle putt on the par-5 13th. The long-hitting American had six birdies and one bogey in the first 12 holes.
“Yesterday, I just wasn't feeling all that great starting out,'' Johnson said. “So, I just kind of hung in there all day. And got a little momentum late, hit some good shots and, obviously, holed a few chips. But that kept my momentum going. … And that momentum kind of carried over to today.''
Johnson failed to win a match in his three previous appearances in the event. He'll face Mark Wilson on Friday. Last year, Wilson beat Johnson in 19 holes in the first round. Wilson advanced Thursday with a 3-and-2 victory over Robert Rock.
“He's a good all-around player,'' Johnson said. “It will be a tough match.''
SCOTTISH SHOWDOWN: Paul Lawrie and Martin Laird set up a Scottish showdown in the third round – and spoiled a possible match between young stars.
Laird beat 18-year-old Matteo Manassero 2 and 1, and Lawrie knocked off 20-year-old Ryo Ishikawa 1 up.
“It's about as good as I played in a while there,'' Laird said. “I needed all of it today to beat Matteo. He's one of those guys in match play that just never goes away.''
Lawrie, the 1999 British Open champion, won the wind-shortened Qatar Masters three weeks ago for his seventh European Tour title.
Laird is seeded 38th, five spots ahead of Lawrie.
“Obviously, Martin has been playing good, and he's ahead of me in the world ranking, so he's the favorite,'' Lawrie said. “I'm looking forward to it. It should be good fun. … He's a good lad.''
G'DAY MATE: John Senden beat Jason Day 6 and 5 in a match between the only two Australians to survive the opening round.
Senden took a 2-up lead with birdies on Nos. 3 and 4, and took advantage of Day's erratic play to win easily. Day had two bogeys and failed to make a birdie.
“I had the pressure on him early,'' Senden said. “Then, basically, from there, I wanted to keep focused and keep the quality of shots going on. I did that and he sort of made the mistakes to force the match to go further and further my way.''
Senden will play Bae Sang-moon on Friday. Bae edged Charl Schwartzel 1 up.
DIVOTS: The top-seeded players won 13 of the 16 second-round matches. … Bae Sang-moon is the only first-time participant to reach the third round. … None of the second-round matches went past the 18th hole, the first time that has happened in the round since 2002. … The second-round losers received $95,000.