CASARES, Spain (AP) — Alvaro Quiros qualified in style for the knockout stages of the World Match Play Championship on Friday as South African pair Retief Goosen and Louis Oosthuizen were two of three major winners to be eliminated from the tournament in Spain.
The big-hitting Quiros, best known for getting distance off the tee, showed deftness with his short irons by spinning his second shot at the par-4 14th back into the hole for an eagle, clinching the Spaniard a commanding 5 and 4 victory over Soren Kjeldsen at the Finca Cortesin course in Andalusia.
The 26th-ranked Quiros, who upset No. 9 Paul Casey 3 and 1 on Thursday, tops Group H and is the only guaranteed pool winner so far. With two going through from each group, Kjeldsen had a crucial match against Casey later Friday but some high-profile players were already on their way home.
Goosen, the two-time U.S. Open champion, went 3 up after six holes against Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts, who came to the Costa del Sol off a tournament win in China.
However, Colsaerts pulled it back to all square by the 17th and birdied the last to win by a hole. He advanced to the last 16 from Group F with No.6-ranked Rory McIlroy, who defeated Goosen on Thursday.
Oosthuizen followed his compatriot out of the tournament, the reigning British Open champion following up a 3-and-1 reverse to Graeme McDowell on Thursday with a loss by a single hole to Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas in Group E.
The third major winner to fall was South Korea’s Y.E. Yang, the 2009 U.S. PGA champion, who slipped to a second straight defeat by losing 2 and 1 to compatriot Noh Seung-yul in Group C.
The two other players to be knocked out on Friday after sinking to second defeats were Denmark’s Anders Hansen, who lost by a hole to Australia’s Aaron Baddeley in Group A, and Ryan Moore, the lone American player in the field who lost the last four holes to go down by a hole to fast-finishing defending champion Ross Fisher of England.
Fisher, who beat Anthony Kim in the 2009 final, had been 4 down after seven holes.
The results from the morning session in southern Spain meant the three highest-ranked players – Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer – progressed before they had teed off for their second match. McDowell and McIlroy, the Northern Irish pair who could meet in the last 16, were also two of the 11 players definitely through.
As well as Group H, two more of the eight pools were still up for grabs.
Miguel Angel Jimenez lost 2 and 1 to Sweden’s Johan Edfors to leave both players at one win in Group D, with Edfors still to play Charl Schwartzel.
Ian Poulter, last year’s Accenture Match Play winner, halved with 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie for a second straight draw. If there was a winner in the match between Lawrie and Italy’s Francesco Molinari later Friday, Poulter would go through from Group B.