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Page last updated at 07:03 GMT, Sunday, 21 February 2010

Ian Poulter beats Garcia to reach Match Play final

Accenture World Match Play Championship, Arizona:
Venue: Ritz-Carlton GC Dates: 17-21 February Coverage: Live on Sky Sports, regular updates on BBC Radio 5 Live, scorecards and reports on BBC website


Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter
Garcia and Poulter had a difference of opinion on the 7th hole

Britain's Ian Poulter thrashed Sergio Garcia 7&6 to reach the final of the the WGC-Accenture Match Play event.

The win was tinged with controversy after the pair disagreed over Poulter's request for a free drop because of a TV tower between his ball and flag.

Poulter, who will face either compatriot Paul Casey or Camilo Villegas in the final, then chose to play the ball from where it was.

"He did what he felt was right," said Garcia. "I told him what I thought."

Casey and Villegas must resume their semi-final play-off on Sunday after the pair could not be separated following five extra holes.

In what was the last hole of the day, Colombian Villegas missed a par putt of under three feet for victory after Casey found sand off the tee and then rough.

I wanted to see where I could drop the ball. It's my prerogative

Ian Poulter on the 7th hole

"I should have made that putt, but it is what it is," said Villegas, who will return to the 1st hole with Casey at 1410 GMT to complete their semi-final.

Earlier, Garcia handed Poulter an early advantage when he opened with a double-bogey six and it got much worse for the Spaniard when he teed off the 3rd into the lake - going on to lose the hole to a bogey four.

Play had been held up for nearly 15 minutes just before because of monsoon-like conditions, but on the resumption Poulter took the next three holes as well.

When Poulter found a bush at the 7th, Garcia went on to win the hole despite his misgivings over his opponent's request for a free drop and subsequent decision to play the ball from its original spot.

Garcia believed Poulter should have played from the new position having sought clarification from both rules official Steve Rintoul and head official Mark Russell.

"That's probably what I would have done after trying to get relief," said the Spaniard, "but he did what he felt was right and he's the one who has to live with it.

"I just told him what I felt, but in a good manner."

606: DEBATE
David Tee

Poulter defended his decision, saying: "I wanted to see where I could drop the ball.

"It's my prerogative. I wanted to see whether it could have got me in the clear and I was going to drop it straight in a bush."

Poulter went on to birdie the next three holes and won the match after Garcia missed the green on the short 12th.

Earlier in the day, Poulter had beaten Thai Thongchai Jaidee on the final green to set up his meeting with Garcia.

Poulter slipped one behind with four to play after bogeying the 14th, but was gifted the 15th and 17th holes as Jaidee made bogeys.

Casey sealed a notable 5&4 quarter-final win over Open champion Stewart Cink to set up his clash with Villegas, who beat Retief Goosen 4&3.

The Englishman's win meant that for the first time in the 12-year history of the event there was no American semi-finalist.

The highlight of Casey's round came at the 583-yard 13th where he struck a 347-yard drive downwind, a 225-yard second shot into the heart of the green and holed for an eagle.

A 12-foot putt on the next green finished the match and Cink jokingly pointed out the 15th tee to Casey, who at that stage had not needed to play the hole in competitive action during the week.

"I saw a great display," said Cink, whose only success came when Casey drove wildly into the desert on the long 11th and had to take a penalty drop.

Victory over Villegas would take Casey to a career-high of fifth in the world rankings.

A third English player, Oliver Wilson, who had beaten Miguel Angel Jimenez, Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald, won the first hole in his quarter-final against Garcia but was three down after six.

The Mansfield golfer came back to trail by only one at the turn, but Garcia birdied the 13th and 14th, and Wilson's missed seven-footer on the next ended the match.


QUARTER-FINAL RESULTS:

Sergio Garcia (Spain) beat Oliver Wilson (GB) 4&3

Paul Casey (GB) beat Stewart Cink (US) 5&4

Ian Poulter (GB) beat Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) by 1 hole

Camilo Villegas (Col) beat Retief Goosen (SA) 4&3

SEMI-FINAL RESULT:

Ian Poulter (GB) beat Sergio Garcia (Spain) 7&6



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see also
Britons reach Match Play quarters
19 Feb 10 |  Golf
British players star in Arizona
18 Feb 10 |  Golf
McIlroy exits from WGC Match Play
18 Feb 10 |  Golf
McGowan defeats top seed Stricker
17 Feb 10 |  Golf
No Woods World Match Play return
12 Feb 10 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf


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