MARANA, Ariz. » In a Match Play Championship with a youthful complexion, Rickie Fowler was dressed in matching pink shoes and shirt when he walked onto the driving range and past his opponent, Phil Mickelson, who looked him up and down and smiled.
"Sophia has some shoes like that," Mickelson said, referring to his 9-year-old daughter. "She wears them to her dance class."
Mickelson has become somewhat of a mentor to Fowler, so the kid knew what was coming.
Once they got onto the course, Fowler was hotter than his choice of color at Dove Mountain.
Fowler was 8 under par when their match ended on the 13th hole, a 6-and-5 win that sent Mickelson to his worst loss ever in this fickle tournament.
"I love guys like Phil. In a way, he’s taken me under his wing a bit," Fowler said. "I love watching him play. I love playing with him. And obviously, it was huge for me going out there and getting the job done today."
Fowler was 5 under over the last four holes, which included a chip-in for birdie from behind the 10th green and a pair of eagles, the last one with a 4-iron from 232 yards that landed just beyond a ridge and rolled so close that Mickelson conceded the putt.
"He doesn’t really have a weakness," Mickelson said. "He really is a complete player, and he put it together today."
Fowler had plenty of company.
Equally impressive was Italy’s teen sensation, 17-year-old Matteo Manassero, who hit a 6-iron to 4 feet on the 17th hole and closed out Charl Schwartzel of South Africa to advance. Jason Day, a 23-year-old Australian, played like a veteran of match play the way he toyed with Paul Casey in a 4-and-2 victory.
Of the final 16 players left at the Accenture Match Play Championship, eight are under 30.
That includes Nick Watney, who steadied his emotions over the last three holes to knock out top-ranked Lee Westwood — the third straight year the No. 1 seed did not make it out of the second round. The highest seed remaining after two wild days was PGA champion Martin Kaymer, the 25-year-old "Germanator" who had to go 20 holes to beat Justin Rose.
It hasn’t been a bad week for the Americans at this World Golf Championship. They have eight players in the round of 16, the most in five years. The surprise is the list of players.
Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk were gone after the first round. Mickelson joined them yesterday.
Wie has work to do
Honolulu’s Michelle Wie shot a 1-under 71 yesterday at the HSBC Women’s Champions played on the Garden Course of the Tanah Merah Country Club in Singapore.
Through 36 holes, the Punahou School graduate is tied for 12th at even-par 144. She trails second-round leader Chie Arimura (66–134) of Japan by a whopping 10 shots. Former world No. 1 Karrie Webb (66–136) is alone in second just two shots off the pace.
Wie shot an even-par 36 on the front side, with a bogey at the par-4 fourth and a birdie at the par-5 ninth. The 21-year-old Stanford University student had two more birdies at the par-3 12th and the par-5 15th, but bogeyed the par-4 17th.
Toms finds his game
David Toms got off to a good start in a bid for his first PGA Tour victory in more than five years, shooting a 5-under 66 to share the first-round lead in the Mayakoba Classic at Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.
The 44-year-old Toms, the 2001 PGA Championship winner, won the Sony Open in Hawaii in January 2006 for the last of his 12 PGA Tour victories.
Andres Gonzales, Mark Hensby and Kyle Stanley also opened with 66s in windy conditions on the Greg Norman-designed El Camaleon course.