GOLF Woods, Mickelson claim easy wins
They are two of eight remaining players in the Match Play Championship.
CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Mud caked on the bottom of Tiger Woods' pants only made it look like he had a long, hard day at work Friday in the Match Play Championship.
Woods, Phil Mickelson and Davis Love III never had it so easy.
All of them breezed through second- and third-round matches at La Costa Resort, giving this fickle tournament a bevy of stars chasing the $1.2 million prize.
"For someone to make it through three matches, they're probably playing pretty good," Woods said.
Woods never trailed in either of his matches against Trevor Immelman and Fredrik Jacobson, and the only time he saw the 15th hole was when he stepped on the tee box for a post-match interview. He set a tournament record by winning his ninth consecutive match.
Love almost fell asleep waiting for his afternoon match to start. He has been behind only one hole in three matches, and victories over Fred Couples and Adam Scott were never in question.
Kept it in play
Mickelson's pants stayed relatively clean, perhaps because he spent so much time in the fairway.
"Because I've kept it in play, the course seems to be so much easier," Mickelson said. "You'd think after 33 years I'd figure that out."
They all know this much: It won't get any easier from here.
For the first time since this World Golf Championship began in 1999, five top-10 seeds have advanced to the quarterfinals this morning -- Woods (1), Love (3), Mickelson (6), Padraig Harrington (9) and Darren Clarke (10).
Tiger has easy day
Woods won 5 and 4 in both of his matches, finding his rhythm after narrowly escaping the first round. The difference Friday was watching putts go in the hole, a welcome relief on the bumpy surfaces at La Costa where only putts inside the leather -- shoe leather, that is -- were conceded. Mickelson was relentless against British Open champion Ben Curtis, beating him 7 and 6, and only gave Chris DiMarco a glimmer of hope before he pulled away for a 3-and-2 victory.
Love might have benefited from the best match Friday -- Adam Scott against Robert Allenby, which featured one clutch putt after another until Allenby missed a 2-footer for par and lost on the 23rd hole.
"I sat down for a while and felt like I was getting sleepy," Love said. "I said, 'I wish they'd hurry up and finish so we could get going again.' "
He got going quick, building a 4-up lead and winning 4 and 3 over Scott.
The other survivors looked tough, too.
U Jerry Kelly, who finds match play to be the closest thing golf comes to his beloved hockey, plowed through Vijay Singh in the second round, then built a 4-up lead and hung on against Chad Campbell, winning on the 18th hole.
U Ian Poulter of England played only 30 holes Friday, taking advantage of sloppy play by Duffy Waldorf (7 and 5) and John Huston (2 and 1).
U Clarke, who beat Woods in the finals four years ago, hammered Alex Cejka of Germany in the morning and finished off Kenny Perry in the afternoon with a 50-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole.
U Stephen Leaney of Australia never trailed against Masters champion Mike Weir, holing out a bunker shot when it appeared the Canadian might get back into the match. In the third round, he ended Colin Montgomerie's longest stay in San Diego with a par on the final hole to win, 1-up.
U Harrington led by 4 at the turn and beat Bob Estes in the morning, then held off a late rally by David Toms to win, 1-up.
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Heath Slocum shot an 8-under 64 Friday -- his second consecutive bogey-free round -- to take a two-shot lead in the rain-curtailed second round of the Chrysler Classic of Tucson.
"It's definitely a goal of mine, and more than once," he said about the chance of winning in his third full PGA season. "That's why I hit all the balls; that's why I do all the work."
Michael Clark carded a second-round 65 and Geoff Ogilvy shot 66, leaving them two shots behind of Slocum's 13-under 131 among players who completed 36 holes. Seventy-two late starters failed to complete the round when play was suspended in late afternoon.
The only one within two strokes of Slocum was Carlos Franco, one of a quartet who began the day two shots behind first-round leader Frank Lickliter. Franco was at 11 under with five holes to finish this morning.
Per-Ulrik Johansson, who missed sharing the first-round lead when he double-bogeyed the final hole, was three shots behind Slocum after a 69. Tim Clark (68) and Vaughn Taylor (68) joined him at 134.