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N. Ireland's McIlroy, McDowell facing off

CASARES, Spain — Seven months after helping Europe reclaim the Ryder Cup, Northern Irish duo Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell will meet in the final 16 at the World Match Play Championship.

McDowell claimed Group D with two straight wins, while McIlroy was second in Group E after a 3-and-2 defeat to Nicolas Colsaerts on Friday.

The two will face off in a competitive match for the first time today, with a spot in the quarterfinals at stake.

"It's going to be hard, but you've got to leave your friendship on the sideline," said fifth-ranked McDowell, who added that it's usually a one-sided affair when he faces McIlroy in practice, even though his friend is a spot below him in the rankings.

"I stopped playing him because he's too good," the U.S Open champion said. "I'm more of an observer, and he just tends to beat me up. I'm sure he'll expect to beat me again."

McIlroy said he'd treat the match like any other: "I'm sure we'll chat around the course, and it will be a friendly game. But I'm here to win a tournament, and to win it, I need to get through him."

Meanwhile, top-ranked Lee Westwood takes on fellow Englishman Ian Poulter after beating Aaron Baddeley 4 and 3 to win Group A.

Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer, who could supplant Westwood as No. 1 if they win the tournament, also advanced as unbeaten group winners. Second-ranked Donald beat Ross Fisher 3 and 1 in Group B, and third-ranked Kaymer beat Noh Seung-yul 2 and 1 in Group C.

PGA: David Toms shot a second straight 8-under 62 at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, matching the tour record for the first 36 holes to open a seven-stroke lead. Toms tied the mark of 124 set by Pat Perez in the 2009 Bob Hope Classic. Unaffected by a 2½-hour weather delay, Toms had four birdies on the eight holes he completed after play resumed. Steven Bowditch (64) and Charlie Wi (67), who finished before the delay, were tied for second with Mark Wilson (66) and John Senden (66).

LPGA: Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Michelle Wie won second-round matches to lead six Americans into the final 16 of the Sybase Match Play Championship in Gladstone, N.J. Angela Stanford, Stacy Lewis and Brittany Lang were the other Americans to advance, along with top-seeded Na Yeon Choi of South Korea. Third-seeded Kerr had the most impressive victory, overwhelming rookie Belen Mozo 7 and 6.

N. Ireland's McIlroy, McDowell facing off 05/20/11 [Last modified: Friday, May 20, 2011 9:55pm]
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