Schwartzel def. Stadler 3 & 2 in WGC Match Play

Charl Schwartzel during his first-round win at the 2014 WGC-Accenture Match Play at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz.

No. 4 Ben Hogan bracket seed Charl Schwartzel gets things started with a pair of halves before taking the lead at the third hole against No. 13 seed Kevin Stadler in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play. The match stays close most of the day before Schwartzel jumps ahead late and wins 3 and 2.

We'll keep you posted on the highlights of the Schwartzel vs. Stadler match right here – and scroll down for our preview coverage.

• • •

Hole No. 16: Par 3, 199 yards

With both players parring here, the match – which was within a one-stroke margin most of the day – goes to Schwartzel.

SCHWARTZEL WINS, 3 & 2

• • •

Hole No. 15: Par 4, 343 yards

Schwartzel wins the seventh with a birdie, after which he and Stadler halve six in a row. But the South African birdies two in a row to win the 14th and 15th, and takes command by going up three with three to play.

THRU 15 HOLES: Schwartzel, 3 up

• • •

Hole No. 6: Par 3, 185 yards

Schwartzel blinks back for the first time today, bogeying here to pull the match even once again after the two traded pars at the fourth and birdies at the fifth.

THRU SIX HOLES: All Square

• • •

Hole No. 3: Par 3, 208 yards

Stadler blinks first, Schwartzel earning a conceded hole to take the first lead in this match. The South African is looking to avoid a second-straight first-round exit.

THRU THREE HOLES: Schwartzel, 1 up

• • •

Hole No. 1: Par 4, 460 yards

A pair of pars keep this match level out of the gate, and that might better reflect how close this match could be than do the rankings or their experience in this event – Stadler has a hot hand these days.

• • •

  • Charl Schwartzel

  • OWGR Rank: 16
  • Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: 13
  • 2014 PGA Tour results: 5th, Northern Trust Open
  • Match Play results (since 2009): T-33 (2013); T-17 (2012); T-17 (2011); T-9 (2010); T-17 (2009)
  • Comments: Last year was the first year he didn't win a match at Match Play, and he's coming off an impressive Tour debut with four rounds in the 60s at Riviera. Definitely a dark-horse pick this week.

• • •

  • Kevin Stadler

  • OWGR Rank: 55
  • Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: 67
  • 2014 PGA Tour results: T-30, Shriners Hospitals for Children Open; T-19, CIMB Classic; T-10, McGladrey Classic; T-12, OHL Classic at Mayakoba; T-78, Humana Challenge; won, Waste Management Phoenix Open; T-45, AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am; T-23, Northern Trust Open
  • Match Play results (since 2009):
  • Comments: Stadler played himself into Match Play with his victory at the Phoenix Open and four other top-25s this season on Tour. Now he's looking for his second Arizona triumph in a month.

• • •

Match Play preview coverage

Hole-by-hole preview of Dove Mountain, Match Play host course

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.

Match Play cheat sheet: Player-by-player breakdowns

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.

B. Watson carries confidence into WGC Match Play

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.

Expert picks: No clear favorite at WGC 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.

R.McIlroy tops Match Play odds; D. Johnson, J. Day close

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.

I. Poulter's early start reminiscent of year it snowed

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.

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