ALUMNI UPDATE – ACCENTURE AND MAYAKOBA RECAPS

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By Ryan Woodcock

There was double duty on the PGA TOUR this week, with 64 of the top 65 golfers in the world (including four Gateway Pro Tour alums) participating in the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship, while the rest of the best descended on Mexico for the Mayakoba Golf Classic

WGC ACCENTURE MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
Four of our former players made the field for this year’s Match Play event in Tucson, with Martin Laird advancing the furthest of the group, making it all the way to Saturday’s quarterfinal match. 

Seeded 10th in the field, Laird started with a 1-up win over Spaniard Alvaro Quiros in the first round.  He then defeated Matteo Manassero 2 and 1 in the second round, and advanced to the quarterfinals and a matchup against World #1 Lee Westwood after his 3 and 1 victory over Paul Lawrie.  Laird hung tough early but couldn’t keep up with Westwood, losing 4 and 2 on Saturday.  This was Laird’s second Match Play appearance, and he fared better than 2011, which saw him get bounced out in the first round.  His 2012 T5 placing earned him $270,000 for his efforts.

Brandt Snedeker was playing in this event for the first time in his career and was given a 5 seed.  He had a good run, starting with a win over 12th seed Retief Goosen in 21 holes in the first round, then followed that up with a 2 and 1 win over Kyle Stanley to advance to the Sweet 16.  He lost to Peter Hanson in the third round 2 and 1, but still walked away with a T9 finish and $140,000.  It was his third Top-10 of the year, and he currently sits 7th in the FedEx Cup standings.

Bubba Watson couldn’t match his fourth place finish from last year, losing to fourth-seeded Matt Kuchar in the second round 3 and 2 after he beat his good friend and fellow “Golf Boy” Ben Crane 3 and 2 in the first round.  Watson finished T17 and walked away with a cool $95,000.

Rounding out our former GPTers in Tucson was Gary Woodland, also making his first Match Play appearance.  A 14-seed, Woodland lost in the first round to last year’s Masters winner Charl Schwartzel, 4 and 2. 

For complete results from the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship, CLICK HERE

MAYAKOBA GOLF CLASSIC
Those who didn’t make the Accenture field went south of the border for the Mayakoba Golf Classic.  Matt Every was the highest finisher among our alums, making a birdie on the final hole to finish T3 at 13-under par, two shots back of the winner.  Every closed with an impressive 66 in the final round to earn his second Top-10 in four starts this season (T6 at Sony). 

For the week, 19 GPT alums made the cut, with three finishing in the Top-5 and six placing in the Top-20. 

Daniel Summerhays and Chris Stroud both finished T5 at 10-under par.  Summerhays got off to a great start and had the third-round lead after posting scores of 69-65-67 over the first three days.  But the wheels came off a little in round four, where he recorded five bogeys on the front nine and finished with a disappointing 73.  Still, he closed the day with a birdie on 18 to jump into a tie for fifth, his best career finish on the PGA TOUR.

Stroud also had a great three days, carding rounds of 69-66-68, and was actually in the hunt on Sunday before a bogey on 16 and a double-bogey on 18 ended his chance at the title.  This was his third Top-10 finish of the year, and second time in as many years he has finished Top-5 at Mayakoba (finished fourth in 2011). 

Rounding out the Top-20 are Mark Anderson, Kevin Stadler and Marc Turnesa, who all finished T16 at 6-under par.  Anderson’s final-round 66 included a stretch of five straight birdies on holes 3-7 to record the best finish of his young rookie season.  Stadler birdied the final hole to earn his best finish since his T11 at AT&T in July; while Marc Turnesa earned his best finish since he placed T5 last year at the Transitions Championship in March. 

Other notables include Spencer Levin, who finished T34 at 3-under, and 2011 GPT member Charlie Beljan, who made his second cut as a rookie, finishing T71 thanks in part to his 67 in round two.

For complete results from the Mayakoba Golf Classic, CLICK HERE.  

That concludes the West Coast Swing on the PGA TOUR; now the action heads East, starting with The Honda Classic, Mar. 1-4 at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  The Nationwide Tour gets back to action after a week off as well, this week heading out to Panama City for the Panama Claro Championship, Mar. 1-4.  As always, make sure to check in next week for a full recap.

Good luck everyone!