No. 1 Ben Hogan bracket seed Rory McIlroy falls behind Boo Weekley early but immediately erases their deficit in their first-round match at teh WGC-Accenture Match Play. McIlroy goes on to pull ahead, as he is looking to continue his trend of improved play after a difficult 2013 season.
We’ll keep you posted on the highlights of the McIlroy vs. Weekley match right here – and scroll down for our preview coverage.
• • •
Hole No. 16: Par 3, 199 yards
It comes down to a putting contest – McIlroy lags from about 60 feet and ends up with par, while Weekley misses a par attempt from about 5 feet and the match is closed out in the No. 1 seed’s favor. “For the most part I played nicely,” McIlroy tells Golf Channel. “. . . I feel like I’ve been driving the ball really well for the past 3-4 months, and it’s really helped my game.”
MCILROY WINS, 3 & 2
• • •
Hole No. 15: Par 4, 343 yards
An ugly attempt at recovery here by McIlroy ends with the ball striking a fan who is knocked into a cactus and the ball caroming into an arroyo in worse shape than it started. McIlroy then concedes the hole but is in decent shape.
THRU 15 HOLES: McIlroy, 2 up
• • •
Hole No. 12: Par 3, 219 yards
After pars halve the 10th, McIlroy wins with a birdie to stretch his lead. But Weekley answers immediately – he wins his first hole since the fourth and cuts into his deficit to provide himself with some hope.
THRU 12 HOLES: McIlroy, 3 up
• • •
Hole No. 9: Par 4, 476 yards
McIlroy’s second straight birdie, and third straight win, give him a solid lead as well as all the momentum as he and Weekley head to the back nine.
THRU NINE HOLES: McIlroy, 3 up
• • •
Hole No. 8: Par 5, 576 yards
Birdie for McIlroy, his third of the match, gives him an “insurance run” to borrow a baseball term as the two approach the turn.
THRU EIGHT HOLES: McIlroy, 2 up
• • •
Hole No. 7: Par 4, 486 yards
A bogey by Weekley drops him behind for the first time in this duel that has seen just two of seven holes halved.
THRU SEVEN HOLES: McIlroy, 1 up
• • •
Hole No. 5: Par 4, 536 yards
After halving the third hole, Weekley moves out front as McIlroy bogeys – but the latter erases his miscue immediately with a birdie at the fifth to pull even again. Another halve with pars follows.
THRU SIX HOLES: All Square
• • •
Hole No. 2: Par 5, 574 yards
After starting on the wrong foot, McIlroy counters by taking a step in the right direction and making an immediate birdie to catch Weekley. Consider the match restarted.
THRU TWO HOLES: All Square
• • •
Hole No. 1: Par 4, 460 yards
Much of this Hogan bracket started the day by halving this hole with pars – but Weekley jumps out front to start his round with a birdie.
• • •
- OWGR Rank: 7
- Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: 24
- 2014 PGA Tour results: T-6, WGC-HSBC Champions
- Match Play results (since 2009): T-33 (2013); 2nd (2012); T-17 (2011); T-17 (2010); T-5 (2009)
- Comments: McIlroy’s game is well-suited for mano-y-mano action, as he can run off birdies in bunches, and the big holes don’t count against him as much. He’s shown some very good signs in 2014, so might be the overall favorite this week.
• • •
- OWGR Rank: 64
- Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: 36
- 2014 PGA Tour results: T-33, CIMB Classic; T-11, HSBC Champions; T-22, McGladrey Classic; 26th, Hyundai Tournament of Champions; T-29, Sony Open; WD, Humana Challenge
- Match Play results (since 2009): T-17 (2009)
- Comments: Match Play will mark Weekley’s first start since withdrawing from the Humana Challenge with a knee injury. It will also mark his first Match Play start in five years.
• • •
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.