WGC Matchplay Round One: McIlroy, Woods and Westwood Crash Out
By Jake O'Reilly
22 February 2013 09:28
It was a day of shocks and surprises at the WGC Matchplay as Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood, Jason Dufner and Charl Schwartzel were all sent home in round one.
However, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter and Luke Donald - who is now the highest ranked player in the tournament - moved into the next round.
Most of the talk will focus on world number one McIlroy, who suffered his second embarassment since moving to Nike when he lost 1up to world number 64 Shane Lowry.
Partners in the Irish amateur team, McIlroy knew all about Lowry’s ability, but even he wasn't ready for back-to-back chip-ins on 11 and 12 and a shot-of-the-day fairway wood to three-feet from 258-yards for an eagle on the 13th.
A three-putt by Lowry on 14 gave McIlroy hope, before a stunning shot on the par-3 16th closed the gap to one; but Lowry held his nerve down the last to get up-and-down from a greenside bunker and win.
Woods joined McIlroy in the exodus after losing 2&1 to Charles Howell III, while bookies' favourite Charl Schwartzel went down 1up to Russell Henley.
World number three Luke Donald birdied the last to beat Germany’s Marcel Siem, while Ian Poulter progressed to the second round by beating Dubai Desert Classic winner Stephen Gallacher 2&1.
“I was pleased with the way I holed out,” said Poulter. “I didn’t want another early exit. The adrenaline is good for me; it’s a buzz we only usually get when we are in contention on a Sunday.”
Justin Rose also went through 2&1, beating Korea’s KJ Choi. He will face Ryder Cup teammate Nicolas Colsaerts, who beat him 4&3 at the Volvo World Matchplay last year, in the next round. “Nicolas tanned my backside that day — he was about nine-under through 15. He’s obviously capable of going low and I’m going to have to be at my best," said Rose.
Westwood however, will not be joining his Ryder Cup teammates in round two, after he fell to Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello at the 19th. Westwood was one up going down the last - having never been behind - but his approach was wild and he missed a seven-footer for the match and Cabrera-Bello took advantage.
Below is the line-up for round two:
Justin Rose (5), England, vs. Nicolas Colsaerts (37), Belgium.
Sergio Garcia (12), Spain, vs. Matt Kuchar (21), United States.
Thorbjorn Olesen (38), Denmark, vs. Tim Clark (59), South Africa.
Ian Poulter (11), England, Bo Van Pelt (22), United States.
Bubba Watson (8), United States, vs. Jim Furyk (25), United States.
Jason Day (41) Australia, vs. Russell Henley (56), United States.
Martin Kaymer (26), Germany, vs. Rafael Cabrera Bello (58), Spain.
Hunter Mahan (23), United States, vs. Richard Sterne (55), South Africa.
Louis Oosthuizen (4), South Africa, vs. Robert Garrigus (36), United States.
Fredrik Jacobson (45), Sweden, vs. Marcus Fraser (52), Australia.
Luke Donald (3), England, vs. Scott Piercy (35), United States.
Steve Stricker (14), United States, vs. Nick Watney (19), United States.
Shane Lowry (64), Ireland, vs. Carl Pettersson (33), Sweden, or Rickie Fowler (32), United States.
Graeme McDowell (17), Northern Ireland, vs. Alexander Noren (49), Sweden.
Charles Howell III (63), United States, vs. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (31) or Francesco Molinari (34), Italy.
Webb Simpson (15), United States, vs. Peter Hanson (18), Sweden.