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“I’m normally watching it at home on TV,” Westwood said. “It’s good to watch, but I’m hoping it’s better to play.”

Second-ranked Rory McIlroy also can take the No. 1 spot with a tournament victory.

“Everyone keeps telling me, so it’s hard to put it out of my mind,” McIlroy said. “It’s a little bit of extra motivation this week knowing that if I can get through four more matches, I could go to the top of the world ranking.”

He beat Anders Hansen 3 and 2 to advance to play Miguel Angel Jimenez.

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BIRDIE HUNTER: Hunter Mahan had nine birdies _ the last two conceded _ in 15 holes in his 5-and-3 victory over Y.E. Yang.

Mahan also had three pars and three bogeys.

Mahan dropped the first hole with a bogey, pulled even with a birdie on the par-5 second, and lost the par-3 third with a par. He birdied Nos. 4-8 _ holing out from a bunker on the par-3 sixth _ to take a 4-up lead.

“I was playing as well as I could, hitting fairways and greens, giving myself good looks,” Mahan said. “If you hit it good around here, where these pins are, and you get on the right level, you are going to have some putts.”

He lost Nos. 9 and 10 with bogeys, then halved the next two with pars, and birdied the final three. Yang conceded putts of 12 and 6 feet on the last two.

Mahan will face Ryder and Presidents Cup teammate Steve Stricker on Friday. Stricker celebrated his 45th birthday with a 1-up victory over Louis Oosthuizen.

“He’s a great guy to talk to,” Mahan said. “He’s so open, so nice. I mean, he’s just a normal guy who plays golf for a living and that’s it. There’s no more. There’s no celebrity to him whatsoever. He’s a great guy to be around.”

In 2008, Stricker beat Mahan in 20 holes in the second round.

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LONG AND SHORT: Dustin Johnson routed Francesco Molinari 7 and 5 a day after needing 20 holes to beat Jim Furyk.

Story Continues →