No. 7 Ben Hogan bracket seed Bill Haas has taken a lead on the front nine as No. 10 Miguel Angel Jimenez started shakily in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play, although Jimenez holds a distinct edge in experience at this event and isn’t to be counted out early.
We’ll keep you posted on the highlights of the Haas vs. Jimenez match right here – and scroll down for our preview coverage.
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Hole No. 15: Par 4, 343 yards
Pars at the 15th earn a halve that hand the match to Haas, who took a 2-up lead early, added a stroke at the eighth and didn’t look back.
HAAS WINS, 4 & 3
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Hole No. 14: Par 4, 449 yards
A bogey at the 10th drops Haas’ lead to two holes, but he answers immediately with a birdie at the next restores the margin at three – and a par against Jimenez’ bogey stretches the margin to four with four holes to play.
THRU 14 HOLES: Haas, 4 up
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Hole No. 8: Par 5, 576 yards
Jimenez steadies himself with five straight pars, but Haas birdies here to take a substantial lead as the front nine nears its end.
THRU EIGHT HOLES: Haas, 3 up
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Hole No. 3: Par 3, 208 yards
A rocky start for “The Most Interesting Golfer In The World,” Jimenez, has him two down against Haas in a hurry. Jimenez bogeys Nos. 2-3, while Haas does his part with a birdie at the latter. History has shown, however, the Spaniard is not to be counted out this quickly.
THRU THREE HOLES: Haas leads, 2 up
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Hole No. 1: Par 4, 460 yards
As have many groups before them, Jimenez and Haas open their match with dueling pars. The two are close in OWGR but separated by 66 spots in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, where Haas again is favored.
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- OWGR Rank: 31
- Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: 27
- 2014 PGA Tour results: T-16, CIMB Classic; T-21, WGC-HSBC Champions, T-24, Hyundai TOC; T-6, Humana Challenge; T-43, Farmers Insurance Open; T-34, Waste Management Phoenix Open; T-23, Northern Trust Open
- Match Play results (since 2009): T-33 (2013); T-33 (2012); T-33 (2011)
- Comments: His 0-for-3 at Match Play can be looked at in one of two ways: Either he is due for a win, or the event is simply not for him. He seems to be too good for the latter.
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Miguel Angel Jimenez
- OWGR Rank: 40
- Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: 93
- 2014 PGA Tour results: 72nd, HSBC Champions
- Match Play results (since 2009): T-9 (2012); T-5 (2011); T-9 (2010)
- Comments: This guy won’t miss many fairways and he’ll make some putts on you. Oh, and he’s got some swagger, too.
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Match Play preview coverage
The Golf Club at Dove Mountain is certainly fun to watch from home. And with match play, just about anything can happen, especially on this dramatic, rugged Jack Nicklaus-designed course in the foothills of the Tortolita Mountain Range just north of Tucson, Ariz. See photos and a strategic description of all 18 holes.
Henrik Stenson will enter this week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship as the top seed, a year after his won the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai. Meanwhile, last year’s champ Matt Kuchar is coming off his first missed cut in nearly 18 months as 61 of the top 67 players in the world will play at Dove Mountain. Here’s a look at each player in the field.
Bubba Golf is back in vogue. Bomb it, find it, wedge it, putt it. That has worked so well lately that Bubba Watson finds himself high on the current Hot Golfer List, having won (Northern Trust Open on Sunday) and finished second (Waste Management Phoenix Open) in his last two PGA Tour starts. Hence, Watson comes to the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship as a scary draw, if there is such a thing in the unpredictable culture of 18-hole match play.
The field is stacked and this is truly the “anything-can-happen” tournament of the year, as match play seems to even the playing field in golf. With Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott taking the WGC-Accenture Match Play off, a bit of intrigue might be lost, but the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter should provide some drama worth watching.
Rory McIlroy tops the list of odds to win this week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, with Dustin Johnson and Jason Day not far behind. McIlroy is listed at 12/1 to win the tournament, with Johnson and Day at 15/1.
Ian Poulter will have a little bit of experience on his side Wednesday, with another early-morning tee time in the this World Golf Championship. Although afternoon temperatures are predicted to be in the 80s, the early-morning groups will probably start out in sub-50 weather, so if there is cold anywhere, Poulter’s match against Rickie Fowler will have it. And it’s an intriguing match right out of the gates, as Poulter clearly has a fondness for this championship.