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Tiger makes most of misses

Times Staff Writer

MARANA, Ariz. -- Not once, but twice, Aaron Baddeley stood over putts that would defeat Tiger Woods. And not once, but twice, those putts slid past the hole.

Each roll of the ball spun Baddeley closer to the truth of consequences.

If you have two chances to take out Woods and you don’t do it, chances are good the window’s going to slam down on your fingers in a hurry.

It played out that way Friday in the third round of the $8-million Accenture Match Play Championship.

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Given another opportunity, Woods steered a 13-foot birdie putt into the bottom of the hole at the par-four second and defeated Baddeley in 20 holes at the Gallery at Dove Mountain.

This Tiger probably used up two of his lives.

The first one was at the 18th when the match was tied and Baddeley missed an uphill 10-footer for birdie that would have ended it. The second was on their 19th hole, the par-five first, when Baddeley missed from 12 feet, once again missing on the low side.

Baddeley said he didn’t feel badly afterward. “I made him have to win,” he said.

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In such situations, Woods has established his prowess, so this was the most recent example of how he succeeds in business. A two-time winner of this event, he has won 20 of his last 23 matches.

“It was unbelievable,” said Woods, whose performance could be described similarly.

He had 12 birdies in 20 holes, seven of them after making the turn.

“I made two mistakes, two bogeys, and gave him two holes, but he did the same,” Woods said. “Every other hole it seemed like we birdied. I birdied, he birdied. He birdied, I birdied. It was unbelievable how many birdies we made out there today.”

Woods was 2-up through five holes, but Baddeley caught up with a flurry of birdies -- eight in a nine-hole stretch and five in a row, including a 12-footer conceded by Woods at the 13th.

Baddeley, who had 10 birdies, including the conceded birdie, said he thought his two cracks at Woods were right on line. “I hit good putts both times,” he said.

At the 18th, Baddeley said he played four feet of break.

“That was a hard putt,” Woods said, “More than likely he’s going to miss that putt low.”

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On the first extra hole, Baddeley said he hit it exactly where he intended, but that the ball veered slightly left at the end. Woods said he thought Baddeley was going to make it.

“It was just one of those putts, I guess,” Baddeley said. “I could have won.”

Instead, it’s Woods who moves on to meet K.J. Choi in this morning’s quarterfinals. Choi, who hasn’t been doing much this week except winning, defeated Paul Casey, 1-up, even though he didn’t make a birdie the last 11 holes.

Defending champion Henrik Stenson and Woody Austin meet in another quarterfinal, with the winner in Woods’ path should he get past Choi.

Stenson, who has played 61 holes in three matches, defeated Jonathan Byrd, 1-up. Austin sent Boo Weekley home, 3 and 2, after Weekley went without a birdie after the second hole.

In the other half of the draw, Justin Leonard removed Stuart Appleby from the equation, 3 and 2, one day after Appleby ousted second-ranked Phil Mickelson. Leonard plays Vijay Singh, who outlasted Rodney Pampling in 25 holes. Pampling would have won, but he bogeyed the 18th hole.

Third-ranked Steve Stricker’s luck ran out in a 4-and-3 loss to U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera, who plays Stewart Cink in the other quarterfinal after Cink defeated Colin Montgomerie, 4 and 2.

Woods won the first two holes after he chipped to four feet at No. 1 and then made a six-foot putt at No. 2.

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In the midst of his birdie-making, Baddeley squared the match with a 20-footer at the eighth, then dropped behind after Woods made a 13-footer to birdie the ninth.

But by the 13th, it was all square after Woods hit a marshal with his drive and made bogey. Baddeley made a 10-footer to birdie the 14th to take a one-hole lead that stood up until Woods hit an eight-iron at the par-three 16th and stopped it two feet from the pin. Baddeley conceded Woods the putt.

Woods said his mind-set was simple, and tied it to the only way to make the most of a match-play scenario.

“I was just trying to make birdies.”

On the 20th hole, the end seemed to be a huge relief to Woods, who started removing his cap while the ball was still on its way toward the hole.

“It was kind of headed that way,” he said. “It looked pretty good from where I was.”

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thomas.bonk@latimes.com

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Pairings

Quarterfinals of Accenture Match Play Championship (seeding in parentheses). Jones winner will face Hogan winner in the semifinals:

JONES BRACKET FINAL

* Tiger Woods (1) vs. K.J. Choi (9)

HOGAN BRACKET FINAL

* Henrik Stenson (13) vs. Woody Austin (37)

SNEAD BRACKET FINAL

* Angel Cabrera (14) vs. Stewart Cink (22)

PLAYER BRACKET FINAL

* Justin Leonard (50) vs. Vijay Singh (10)


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