Woods starts shaky at Match Play

first_imgFourth-seeded Phil Mickelson got a minor scare, trailing fellow lefty Richard Green of Australia and not taking the lead until the 14th hole. Mickelson won, 1-up, when Green missed a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole. Jim Furyk, the No. 2 seed, also trailed at the turn until making three straight birdies and beating Brett Quigley, 2 and 1. Shaun Micheel, who ended Woods’ worldwide winning streak last September by beating him in the first round of the World Match Play Championship, was up to his old tricks. He knocked out one of the top seeds – Adam Scott at No. 3 – in 21 holes. Scott made a birdie on the 18th to force extra holes, then three-putted on No. 3, missing a 5-foot par putt. Woods said only the score made it look like an easy day. For the second straight year, the shortest day belonged to Stephen Ames. He was on the losing end of that record rout by Woods at La Costa, but experienced the flip side of this fickle tournament by making seven birdies in 11 holes to bury Robert Karlsson of Sweden, 8 and 7. MARANA, Ariz. – Tiger Woods got the first match out of the way Wednesday, although this time he had to work for it. One year after he set a tournament record with a 9-and-8 victory in the opening round, Woods relied on a big par save early and a near-ace on the 14th hole to put away Ryder Cup teammate J.J. Henry, 3 and 2, in the Accenture Match Play Championship. center_img “It was actually a pretty tight match,” Woods said. “J.J. hit a lot of beautiful putts in the middle part of the round and even on the back nine, and those putts just didn’t go in. Had they gone in it might have been a different story.” Woods advanced to face Tim Clark of South Africa, a 3-and-2 winner over Robert Allenby. Some feel this might be the toughest hurdle in Woods’ unlikely quest to win 11 straight PGA Tour events, the record Byron Nelson set over five months in 1945. But on a warm day of swirling winds in the high desert he did himself a favor by not getting behind. He was 2-up until the 14th, when his 8-iron spun back to within a foot of the cup for birdie. From there, it was a matter of when Henry would run out of holes. Ames ran out of holes quickly, only this time he left the course with a smile. Ames, who grew up in Trinidad & Tobago and now lives in Calgary, didn’t even realize he had won the match after chipping in for birdie on the 11th and final hole. Then he called his wife, who was surprised to hear from him so soon. Ames said the conversation went like this: “You’re done?” she said. “Yeah. I played 11 holes,” he replied. “And …” “I won’t be coming home tonight,” he said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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