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Johnson won when Molinari conceded a 12-foot eagle putt on the par-5 13th. The long-hitting American had six birdies and one bogey in the first 12 holes.

“Yesterday, I just wasn’t feeling all that great starting out,” Johnson said. “So, I just kind of hung in there all day. And got a little momentum late, hit some good shots and, obviously, holed a few chips. But that kept my momentum going. … And that momentum kind of carried over to today.”

Johnson failed to win a match in his three previous appearances in the event. He’ll face Mark Wilson on Friday. Last year, Wilson beat Johnson in 19 holes in the first round. Wilson advanced Thursday with a 3-and-2 victory over Robert Rock.

“He’s a good all-around player,” Johnson said. “It will be a tough match.”

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SCOTTISH SHOWDOWN: Paul Lawrie and Martin Laird set up a Scottish showdown in the third round _ and spoiled a possible match between young stars.

Laird beat 18-year-old Matteo Manassero 2 and 1, and Lawrie knocked off 20-year-old Ryo Ishikawa 1 up.

“It’s about as good as I played in a while there,” Laird said. “I needed all of it today to beat Matteo. He’s one of those guys in match play that just never goes away.”

Lawrie, the 1999 British Open champion, won the wind-shortened Qatar Masters three weeks ago for his seventh European Tour title.

Laird is seeded 38th, five spots ahead of Lawrie.

“Obviously, Martin has been playing good, and he’s ahead of me in the world ranking, so he’s the favorite,” Lawrie said. “I’m looking forward to it. It should be good fun. … He’s a good lad.”

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G’DAY MATE: John Senden beat Jason Day 6 and 5 in a match between the only two Australians to survive the opening round.

Senden took a 2-up lead with birdies on Nos. 3 and 4, and took advantage of Day’s erratic play to win easily. Day had two bogeys and failed to make a birdie.

“I had the pressure on him early,” Senden said. “Then, basically, from there, I wanted to keep focused and keep the quality of shots going on. I did that and he sort of made the mistakes to force the match to go further and further my way.”

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