Ernie Els and Adam Scott headed the list of high-profile players to fall at the first hurdle of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship yesterday. On a good opening day for the European players (15 progressed in total) Els (pictured) was beaten 4&2 by Welshman Bradley Dredge while Scott went down on the third extra hole to Shaun Micheel.
With first round matches taking place over just 18 holes, reputations were cheap. American Ryder Cup veteran Davis Love III, who lost to Geoff Ogilvy in last year’s final, was beaten this time on day one by Ben Crane, ranked 53rd in the world.
Darren Clarke also failed to make it past the first day at the sun-drenched Dove Mountain course, losing on the first extra hole to Sergio Garcia. A timely birdie at the par-5 1st hole by the Spaniard set up a mouthwatering second-round match against the US Tour?s man of the moment, Charles Howell III.
Tiger Woods cruised safely into the second round with a solid 3&2 victory over Ryder Cup team-mate J J Henry, while Phil Mickelson, who beat Australian Richard Green, is due to play England’s Justin Rose.
The European Tour will be strongly represented on day two of the first World Golf Championship event of the year ? Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Colin Montgomerie, Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald all made it through.