CARLSBAD, California, Feb 26 (Reuters) Davis Love III reached the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship final for the second time in three years with a 4&2 victory over fellow American Zach Johnson yesterday.
Love, who spectacularly holed out with a wedge to eagle the last and beat Ireland's Padraig Harrington one up in the morning's quarter-finals, sealed the win when neither player could birdie the par-three 16th.
Moments later, Australia's Geoff Ogilvy triumphed 4&3 against US Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman when his American opponent failed to par the 15th hole.
Love, beaten 3&2 by Tiger Woods in the 2004 final, took early charge against Johnson with four birdies on the front nine.
Although Johnson birdied the second and third, he found water with his second shot at the par-five eighth before running up a regulation par. Love holed a 13-foot birdie there to forge one ahead.
Love, the world number 28, then coolly rolled in a 16-footer for birdie at the par-four ninth to double his lead.
A superb approach to seven feet at the par-four 13th earned Love his fifth birdie of the round and he then coaxed in a 23-footer at the par-four 14th to go four up.
Although Love failed to match Johnson's birdie at the par-four 15th, he clinched victory at the following hole.
''My pitching wedge has been good to me for quite a few shots the last two days,'' Love told reporters. ''I also made a couple of 15-20 footers which were pretty key too.'' HIGHEST-RANKED PLAYER Love was the highest-ranked player to reach the last four, following the third-round exits on Friday of holder David Toms, Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh.
Ogilvy, bidding to become the second Australian to claim an individual World Golf Championships (WGC) title after 2002 NEC-Invitational champion Craig Parry, produced sparkling approach play in the afternoon.
He hit his approach to seven feet at the par-four fourth, struck his tee shot to within three feet of the cup at the par-three fifth and stretched three ahead when Lehman three-putted for bogey at the par-four sixth.
Lehman, who edged out compatriot Chad Campbell at the 21st hole of their quarter-final earlier on Saturday, then bogeyed the ninth after missing the green to the left with his approach to trail by four.
However, Lehman then rallied. He won the par-three 12th hole, where his tee shot ended up within three feet of the flag, and sank a five-footer for birdie at the next hole to trim the deficit to two.
Ogilvy, who qualified for the 64-strong field at La Costa by winning the Tucson Classic 12 months ago, immediately countered with a 19-foot birdie putt on 14 before wrapping up victory on 15.
Reuters SK VP0600