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American Harris English ended Rory McIlroy’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship bid at Dove Mountain after their second-round encounter went to a sudden death extra hole.
The Northern Irishman and world number seven McIlroy looked on course to pip his opponent as he won four out of five holes to lead by one after 16 in Arizona.
However English reproduced the form which saw him comfortably dump out Lee Westwood in the first round and managed to level the game at the 18th. And at the first extra hole McIlroy failed to recover from a poor tee shot and English took full advantage to progress.
English said: “I had to bring my ‘A’ game to beat him. Rory really fought back hard, birdying 14 through 16. I knew I needed to make something happen on 17 and 18.”
The 2010 US Open winner Graeme McDowell ensured there would still be Northern Irish interest in the tournament as he again produced another impressive comeback from three-down at one point to claim victory over Hideki Matsuyama at the 18th.
McDowell, who is now 13.00 to win the tournament, will now face a tough third-round clash against Hunter Mahan, who is 11.00, in a repeat of their decisive Ryder Cup encounter back in 2010.
There will be no Englishman is round three after US Open champion Justin Rose lost at the 20th hole to veteran Ernie Els, while world number three Henrik Stenson lost 4&3 to 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen.
However defending champion Matt Kuchar remains on course to retain his crown after he came from one down with six to play to beat Ryan Moore one up.