Marc Leishman has joined John Senden in the round of 16 at the World Golf Championships Match Play Championship as both Australians went 3-0 in pool play at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
While Senden was already guaranteed a place in Saturday’s elimination round before he beat Brendon Todd 1-up on Friday, Leishman needed to win his match against India’s Anirban Lahiri to progress.
The Victorian battled a loose driver and an early deficit and shook off some late bad luck to beat Lahiri 1-up and set up a date with big-hitting American Gary Woodland in the final 16.
Having taken out Justin Rose and Ryan Palmer without ever trailing world No.60 Leishman found himself 1-down after the opening hole when he three-putted the par five green and Lahiri made birdie.
But the Indian world No.35 made bogey on the third to see the match square again and Leishman took the lead for the first time on the fifth when he rammed home an eight-foot birdie putt.
Leishman doubled his advantage with another eight-foot birdie on the ninth hole and it appeared he was headed towards an easy win when Lahiri missed the 10th green.
However, a missed birdie chance from the Australian and a clutch par putt from Lahiri would be a momentum shifted in the match.
An old divot lodged behind Leishman’s ball in the rough on 11 and he could barely get a club on the ball, making bogey to drop to 1-up and then Lahiri chipped in for birdie from off the green on the 12th to steal another win and square the match.
The pair gifted each other a hole apiece on 13 and 14 with loose shots before Lahiri failed to get up and down from a bunker on the 14th to send Leishman ahead once more.
Lahiri then had a six-foot birdie chance on the final hole to send the match to extra holes but it slid past to hand Leishman his place on the weekend.
Senden will meet Hunter Mahan on Saturday morning after the American dispatched of Matt Kuchar in dominating fashion 5&4.
Mahan, the winner of the event in 2012 and runner-up in 2013 has now made the final 16 for five years running.
Defending champion Jason Day finished 0-3 after being handed a 3&2 loss by Zach Johnson.
Matt Jones is all square through three holes in his must win clash with Charl Schwartzel.
If Jones wins, he at worst will have a chance to get to the weekend via a three-man playoff.
Adam Scott is all square through two holes with Chris Kirk as he attempts to garner a lone win before his official elimination.