By Mark Lamport-Stokes
MARANA, Arizona (Reuters) - Ian Poulter stayed on track for a second WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship title with a 3&2 victory over American veteran Steve Stricker in the quarter-finals on Saturday.
Champion in 2010, Poulter went 4up on Stricker after 12 holes before wrapping up the win by sinking a 10-foot par putt at the short 16th.
"I feel comfortable in this format and I've got a good record here," a smiling Poulter said greenside after recording six birdies and an eagle in 16 holes. "I feel good. I've had six weeks off (competitive golf) so I'm fresh and ready to go."
Stricker, who celebrated his 46th birthday on Saturday, had reached the quarter-finals with a sizzling eight-birdie display earlier in the day when he beat fellow American Scott Piercy 1up.
Matchplay specialist Poulter will face either defending champion Hunter Mahan or U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson in the last four. Mahan and fellow American Simpson were all square after 14 holes.
Earlier, U.S. Ryder Cup player Matt Kuchar became the first player to reach the semi-finals by beating compatriot Robert Garrigus 3&2.
After going 2up early on, Kuchar never trailed in their quarter-final encounter at Dove Mountain and sealed victory with a two-putt par at the short 16th.
"It's nice to be still alive and playing tomorrow," Kuchar told reporters after recording five birdies and three bogeys. "I got off to a nice lead, and then I stumbled a little bit kind of three-quarters into the round.
"I was pretty excited to hit some good shots on 14, 15 and 16 to be able to close him out."
A four-times winner on the PGA Tour who has reached the last eight in this tournament three years in a row, Kuchar will next face either Australian Jason Day or Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell.
Day was 1up on McDowell after 15 holes on a sun-splashed afternoon in Arizona's high desert.
Earlier in the day, the third round was played to get the tournament back on track after only three-and-a-half hours of golf was possible on Wednesday because of driving sleet and then snow at Dove Mountain.
The players set off in a two-tee start to the third round before the winners headed out again in the quarter-finals after a quick turnaround.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Gene Cherry)
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