MARANA, Ariz., Feb. 21 (UPI) --
Jordan Spieth beat defending champion Matt Kuchar
in a tough battle Friday, highlighting third-round play at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Spieth, seeded third in the Gary Player bracket, clawed out a 2 & 1 decision over last year's winner at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain.
His next opponent will be eighth-seeded Ernie Els, who moved on with 1-up decision over Jason Dufner.
Graeme McDowell pulled off a third straight comeback victory, rallying to overcome 2012 winner Hunter Mahan in 21 holes.
McDowell, seeded fourth in the Sam Snead bracket, now draws No. 7 Victor Dubuisson, who dispatched Bubba Watson 1-up.
In the Bobby Jones bracket, second-seeded Jason Day breezed past George Coetzee 3 & 1 to set up a meeting with eighth-seeded Louis Oosthuizen, who downed Webb Simpson 5 & 4.
No. 5 Jim Furyk staged a comeback to advance in the Ben Hogan bracket, rallying from 3-down to squeeze past Harris English.
No. 14 Rickie Fowler also posted a 1-up win in the Hogan bracket, beating Sergio Garcia on the 18th hole.