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McIlroy and McDowell off to winning starts in WGC Accenture Match Play Championship

Good start for the Northern Ireland duo in Arizona.

Rory McIlroy reacts after a birdie on the 10th hole of his match against Boo Weekley.
Rory McIlroy reacts after a birdie on the 10th hole of his match against Boo Weekley.
Image: Matt York/AP/Press Association Images

 

RORY MCILROY AND Graeme McDowell both got off to a winning start today in the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona.

McIlroy was impressive as he defeated Boo Weekley 3&2 in his match. McIlroy was two up after eight holes and extended his advantage to be three up by the 14th hole.

From there McIlroy, who is top seed in his quarter of the draw, held on to set up a meeting with Harris English, a 5&3 victor over Lee Westwood.

It took McDowell until the 19th hole to win his match against Gary Woodland. It was a battling display by McDowell who had been four down after the 7th hole but recovered to be only two down when the players teed off on the 12th hole.

McDowell was still three down as he headed for the 16th hole but he birdied the last three holes to miraculously draw level.

The comeback was then completed when he birdied the 19th to seal his passage forward. McDowell, the 4th seed in his section, will now take on Hideki Matsuyama at the next stage.

Upset

England’s Ian Poulter became the first major upset at the championship losing to American Rickie Fowler 2&1.

Poulter, who won the Match Play crown in 2010, reached the semi-finals last year before losing to Hunter Mahan.

But the world number 15 crashed out in the first round this year at the hands of Fowler, who birdied to win the fourth and took the par-3 sixth and par-four seventh with pars to lead early on 3-up, then topped Poulter’s birdie at 14 with an eagle to win the hole.

“I was definitely an underdog coming in,” Fowler said. “Heck, if I was filling out a bracket I would have picked Poulter too.”

Fowler advanced to a second-round match against the hottest player on the US PGA Tour, fellow American Jimmy Walker.

Walker, seeded sixth, eliminated South African 11th seed Branden Grace 5 and 4.

Upsets became the order of the day with Swedish 15th seed Peter Hanson ousting US second seed Dustin Johnson 4 and 3 and South African 14th seed George Coetzee eliminating US third seed Steve Stricker 3 and 1.

Next for Coetzee is American 11th seed Patrick Reed, who beat Canada’s sixth-seeded Graham DeLaet 1 up.

Next up for Hanson is Frenchman Victor Dubuisson, a seventh seed who beat US 10th seed Kevin Streelman 4 and 3.

Bubba Watson, coming off his first victory since the 2012 Masters last week at Riviera, opened with a 2 and 1 win over Finland’s Mikko Ilonen.

The US third seed next plays Swedish 11th seed Jonas Blixt, who ousted US sixth seed Keegan Bradley 2 and 1.

- © AFP, 2014

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