CASARES, Spain (AP) — Anthony Kim advanced to the semifinals of the World Match Play Championship to play Robert Allenby, despite losing to Scott Strange by three holes on Friday.
Strange needed to beat Kim by at least four holes to advance and was 4 up going into the 568-yard par-5 18th, where the American player responded by hitting his second shot to within 4 feet. Strange, who had laid up, put his approach into the bunker before conceding the hole.
Kim finished with an aggregate of plus-4 holes to Strange’s plus-3 after three Group A matches.
“I’m glad that this point system was set up, today,” said Kim, who struck his 3-wood 274 yards at the last. “When Scott laid up, I knew that I had to step up and go for it and it was the perfect number. I hit it hard as I could and it was (within) 4 feet.”
Allenby beat Oliver Wilson of England by three holes to set up a Presidents Cup rematch, where Kim won easily. Kim made bigger headlines then after being called a loose cannon by Allenby for reportedly being spotted drunk only hours before teeing off.
“I’m going to be in bed by 9:30,” Kim said Friday.
Former Masters champion Angel Cabrera also reached the semifinals after beating Simon Dyson of England by seven holes.
Kim, who won both of his matches Friday, quickly found himself in a tough position against his Australian opponent.
“It was pretty tough to hang in there because I was 3 under after eight but three down,” Kim said. “I knew I just had to hang in there.”
Struggling on the greens, Kim eventually cut the deficit to two holes by No. 12, after Strange three-putted from the fringe. He then lost three of the next five holes before hitting that clutch shot.
“Being aggressive suits (my style), but sometimes it can be your Achilles’ heel,” Kim said. “Every once in a while I get that itch and I go for it.”
Allenby, who was the only unbeaten player to advance, didn’t want to talk about what happened with Kim at the Presidents Cup.
“It’s all said and done,” Allenby said.
Cabrera was delighted after rebounding from a morning defeat to Henrik Stenson in Group C. Cabrera was already 5 up by the eighth of the 18-hole matchup against Dyson.
“The truth was that the turnaround in the afternoon was spectacular,” the 2007 U.S. Open champion said. “I hit a lot better in the afternoon. In the morning I couldn’t do anything right.”
The Argentine, who lost to Ernie Els in last year’s final, will play Ross Fisher in Saturday’s other 36-hole matchup after the Englishman beat Jeev Milkha Singh by one hole.
Fisher advanced in part thanks to Lee Westwood, who rallied to halve his match with Camilo Villegas.
Villegas was 5 under through the first eight holes to go 4-up on the European Tour money leader, who went on to take the next three holes. Villegas would have clinched a place in the last four with a one-hole victory.
Rory McIlroy beat Stenson by four holes in the other Group C match.
Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen beat Paul Casey by a hole and Sergio Garcia was a five-hole winner over Martin Kaymer in other matches.