Stricker loses in ex­tra holes, as Ishikawa makes strong de­but

Weir makes short work of Al­varo Quiros of Spain

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY DOUG FER­GU­SON THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

MARANA, Ariz. — Steve Stricker took over for Tiger Woods as the No. 1 seed at the Match Play Cham­pi­onship, and then did some­thing only Woods had achieved in the 12-year his­tory of the event. He lost in the open­ing round. “His­tory is show­ing in this event,” Stricker said. “It can hap­pen to any­body.”

Ross McGowan of Eng­land, who only got into the 64-man field be­cause Woods isn’t play­ing, rolled in a 30-foot par putt on the 19th hole to be­come only the sec­ond No. 64 seed to win a match. The other was in 2002, when Peter O’Mal­ley beat Woods in the first round.

It capped a wild day at Dove Moun­tain, even if the 32 matches were over­shad­owed by word that Woods, who has not been seen since rev­e­la­tions of his in­fi­delity, will speak pub­licly on Fri­day for the first time in three months.

Even without be­ing at the Match Play Cham­pi­onship, Woods’ prints were all over the place.

“I guess ev­ery­body is go­ing to get their an­swers,” Ser­gio Gar­cia said af­ter beat­ing David Toms. “ We’ll see. I’m fo­cused on this tour­na­ment here. That’s a lot to worry about. I think he’ll be OK.”

Stricker was com­ing off a victory two weeks ago at Riviera, al­though re­cent form has no bear­ing over 18 holes of match play. Three days af­ter he won at Peb­ble Beach, Dustin John­son lost the first four holes and never had a chance against Camilo Vil­le­gas.

The other top four seeds made it into the sec­ond round. Lee Westwood con­trolled his match against fel­low English­man Chris Wood, Jim Furyk went 17 holes be­fore beat­ing Ry­der Cup team­mate Scott Ver­plank, and Martin Kaymer of Ger­many beat Chad Camp­bell, the first time Camp­bell has failed to make it out of the first round.

Ryo Ishikawa made a sen­sa­tional de­but at this World Golf Cham­pi­onship.

The 18-year-old from Ja­pan won the last three holes for a 2-up victory over Michael Sim of Aus­tralia in a match of ris­ing stars. The sig­na­ture mo­ment came at the 17th, when Ishikawa hit from a fair­way bunker to in­side two feet for birdie.

Ishikawa ad­vanced to the sec­ond round to face McGowan, who only learned he was com­ing to Ari­zona five days ago.

“I knew I had a good chance at the beginning of the day,” McGowan said. “It is nice to win and get through for to­mor­row. It was quite ex­cit­ing when that one dropped on 19.” It was dev­as­tat­ing for so many oth­ers. Padraig Har­ring­ton, the No. 8 seed, couldn’t make a putt and lost to Jeev Milkha Singh of In­dia, who won his first match in three trips to Ari­zona. Hen­rik Sten­son, who won this event in 2007 and was the No. 7 seed, didn’t even get past the first hole. He con­ceded his match to Ben Crane be­cause of flu-like symp­toms.

The long­est matched be­longed to Zach John­son, who made a three-foot par putt on the 21st hole to beat Francesco Moli­nari of Italy. His brother didn’t make it, ei­ther. Even though Edoardo Moli­nari built a 4-up lead early on Ste­wart Cink, the Bri­tish Open cham­pion played what he called the best nine holes of his ca­reer for a 2-up victory.

The short­est day of work be­longed fit­tingly to Mike Weir of Bright’s Grove, Ont., who faced Al­varo Quiros of Spain, one of the big­gest hit­ters in golf. Quiros didn’t stand a chance — not many would have — against Weir’s short stick. The Cana­dian opened with five straight birdies and made nine birdies in 12 holes for an 8-and-6 victory.

Eng­land’s Paul Casey beat Cal­gary’s Stephen Ames 5-and-4.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Ge­off Ogilvy also didn’t work up much of a sweat. He built an early lead and then poured it on against Alexan­der Noren of Swe­den, winning 7 and 5. The most pe­cu­liar as­pect was that none of the holes were halved. They traded the first six holes be­fore Ogilvy took the lead for good at No. 7, then won the next six holes. “An odd match,” Ogilvy said. It wasn’t any­thing like last year, when Ogilvy had to go over­time in his first two matches to avoid elim­i­na­tion. Ogilvy prefers a tough match early to pre­pare him for the week, al­though ul­ti­mately, only one thing mat­ters.

“ You can’t win the tour­na­ment if you don’t win the first round,” he said.

The As­so­ci­ated Press

MIke Weir of Canada, dis­cusses his plans with his cad­die on the 8th hole dur­ing the open­ing round of the Ac­cen­ture Match Play Cham­pi­onship golf tour­na­ment, Wed­nes­day, in Marana, Ariz. Wier won his match with Al­varo Quiros of Spain, 8-6.

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