|It's Ollie vs USA|
|by Martin Olivera|
One top-10 seed left, David Toms who won his third match
in a row by the same score, 1-up. He beat Steve Flesch in a very
close mano-a-mano that was decided on the 18th green, when Toms
made a 15-foot birdie putt to win.
Three of the four non-Americans still in the tournament were defeated. Paul Azinger came back from behind with birdies on #16 and #17 (chip-in) to first square the match and then halve the hole against Niclas Fasth. Both players parred #18 and birdied #19. But on the par-5 #20 (2nd hole) Azinger two-putted for birdie while Fasth failed make 4 from the left greenside bunker.
Scott MaCarron prevailed over 4-seeded Sergio Garcia. It was not a good putting day for the Spaniard, who missed very makeable putts to tie the match coming down the stretch. In contrast, McCarron made a 30-foot putt on #14 to save par and halve the hole, maintaining the lead by 1-up. Both players made back-to-back bogeys on #15 and #16 and parred the last two holes for a final score 1-up to the American.
Bob Estes took care of Nick Price by the score of 1-up. The match was tight, but the difference was the two bogeys Price made on the front nine, on holes #5 and #6. Estes made no bogeys and never let the Zimbawean in the match. Price's putt from 20 feet in the last hole to try to send the match to extra holes fell just short.
The only non-American still "alive" is 2002 Buick Invitational champion and two-time Masters winner Jose Maria Olazabal. He took advantage of a faltering short putting game from Mark Calcavecchia on the inward nine to arrive at the 18th green 1-up. Calc's 28-foot birdie effort slid past the hole, but Ollie made his 25-footer for birdie and a 2-up win.
One of the "civil war" matches featured Tom Lehman winning 4&3 over 2002 AT&T winner Matt Gogel. Lehman birdied the last three holes on the front nine to take the lead 1-up, and Gogel made three bogeys in a row on the back nine (#13 through #15) to hand the match over the the veteran Ryder Cup player.
Kevin Sutherland made 11 straight pars before making eagle on the par-5 12th. Furyk could not match this consistency and his three bogeys on the front side did not help his chances, in spite of making a couple of birdies to halve holes. The highest ranked player (#62) in the field closed out the match at 4&3 with a birdie on #15.
Brad Faxon has yet to step on the 17th tee during competition. He won his first three matches 7&6, 3&2, and 3&2. The latter against John Cook. Faxon took advantage of his famous putting ability to take care of the controversial poana greens at La Costa with six birdies, four in the front side. Cook parred the first 10 holes, but that consistency didn't help him. His three birdies on the back side came a little too late. He bogeyed #16 to lose the match.