TIGER WOODS was on his knees at the World Match Play, despite pulling off another miracle shot in his match against Brandt Snedeker.
But Rory McIlroy again proved he is the hottest player on the planet following his Players Championship triumph, as he charged to a highly impressive 3&2 victory over Justin Harding of South Africa.
While McIlroy was in irresistible form, Woods provided the undoubted highlight of day two.
He was left with an impossible-looking lie in a dense bush after sending his second shot to the tenth hole flying through the green.
But he got down on his knees, addressed his ball with the toe of his club, and hooked it left-handed onto the green, sending it to within four feet of the flag.
He completed the great escape by holing the putt to halve the hole – but there were few other moments of Woods wizardy as he slipped to a 2&1 defeat to Snedeker.
That means Tiger’s fate is no longer in his own hands, even if he wins his final qualifying match against Patrick Cantlay today.
Woods said: “It was difficult conditions out there today. The wind was pumping and if you went around there with no bogeys, you were going to win your fair share of holes. We both made a couple of mistakes out there – but he made a few less than I did.
“All I can do now is hopefully get a point from my last match, and see if that’s good enough.
McIlroy will not need any help from anyone else, as he went into overdrive on the back nine to record his second win.
Not that his front nine was too shabby – he made four birdies in a row on the front nine without winning a hole, as Harding matched him blow for blow.
It was all square at the turn, but McIlroy decided if birdies were not good enough he would try chucking an eagle at his opponent.
He did exactly that at the 574 yards 12th, hitting his second shot to within six feet feet of the flag, and that seemed to break Harding’s resistance.
McIlroy now faces England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick, who has only pride to play for after two defeats.
McIlroy commented: “I needed to play really well to beat Justin. He’s a very good player. I can see why he’s done well at the start of the year, and we had a great match.
“We both made our share of birdies on the front nine, but I got my nose in front when I eagled 12, and then birdied 15 and 16 on the back to close it out.”
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