After three rounds of surprises in the Match Play Championship, Jeff Maggert pulled off the biggest shock of them all Friday afternoon, beating Tiger Woods in the quarterfinals with two of the most important clubs in match play _ a wedge and a putter.
The stunning comeback for a 2 and 1 victory made Maggert, whose only victory on the PGA Tour came in 1993, the highest seed remaining for the weekend _ No. 24.
"I wanted to play Tiger this week," Maggert said Friday morning after hanging on to beat Bernhard Langer in the third round.
Strong words from a player who hasn't won in six years and whose career is marked by final-round leads he has has failed to hold.
But this is match play, the fickle format that already had knocked out every seed in the top 20 over three wild and wacky days at La Costa.
Add Woods to the list.
"It takes a lot out of you," Woods said after his 20-foot birdie putt on No. 17 to stay in the match slid by on the left. "I'm pretty tired right now."
Maggert was flawless over the final 10 holes, and he had to be. This was David and Goliath _ the long-hitting Woods, equipped with one of the best records in match play of any American, and Maggert, short but straight, determined to prove once again that anyone can be beaten in match play on a given day.
Five of the top seven seeds fell in the first round. No. 2 David Duval and the rest of the top 10 dropped out of the second round, and Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples failed to qualify for the quarterfinals on Friday afternoon.
But the biggest thud of all was when Maggert toppled Woods, making five birdies in a stretch of eight holes to take control of the match.
"Tiger was the dragon, and someone had to slay him," Maggert said.
Woods won two of his three U.S. Amateurs by coming from behind, but this time couldn't make birdie putts to get back in the match, and finally ran out of holes.
"Tiger is the best player out here," Maggert said. "He's proven himself over the past few years and his match-play record is impeccable. I knew I had to shoot 4- or 5- or 6-under to win the match."
Maggert advances to the semifinals against Steve Pate, who knocked off Couples in the morning and then stopped the runaway train from Argentina known as Eduardo Romero.
Romero hammered Mickelson in the morning, winning three straight holes on the back nine for a 3 and 1 margin, but then ran out of gas against Pate.
Woods was as impressive as he has been all week in beating Stewart Cink in the morning, and then looked like it might be a short afternoon when he made four putts outside 15 feet on the first four holes for a 2-up lead.
But he didn't win another hole after his birdie putt on No. 3 as Maggert refused to yield. He hit a wedge into 4 feet for birdie on No. 8, halved the par-5 ninth with a wedge into 10 feet for birdie, and caught Woods with a 20-foot putt from the fringe on No. 10.
Fittingly, Maggert took the lead on No. 12, another par-5 that would seem to play to Woods' advantage _ after all, Maggert was 143rd in driving distance last year.
Maggert hit a 3-wood through the green and hit a delicate chip to 4 feet for birdie. Woods had a 5-iron that came up short in a bunker, blasted to 10 feet and missed his birdie putt.
"I hit a bunker shot, a really good putt and it just didn't go in," Woods said. "I needed to make birdie and put a little pressure on him, the ball didn't go in."
Maggert took a 2-up lead with another wedge into 12 feet for birdie on No. 15, and Woods simply didn't have the same magic in the putter, the same ability to rise to the occasion that he has shown so often in such a young career.
His final putt was headed for the hole, and Woods started walking as if the fists would start pumping as soon as it fell, but it slid by the hole and he had nothing left to do but congratulate Maggert.
Asked if he was disappointed or frustrated, Woods said, "Both _ because I didn't win, plain and simple."
He'll leave the chase for the $1 million payoff to someone else _ one of four players that no one could have imagined would be left on the weekend in a field of the top 64 players in the world.
Andrew Magee, whose last PGA Tour victory came five years ago, beat Shigeki Maruyama 1-up, while John Huston scored a 2 and 1 victory over Jose Maria Olazabal. They will meet in the other pairing Saturday afternoon.
It's an All-American Final Four in the first World Golf