Stenson def. Aphibarnrat 2 and 1 in WGC Match Play

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

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Henrik Stenson, the top seed who is looking for his first win since the 2013 DP World Tour Championship, held off Kiradech Aphibarnrat for a 2-and-1 victory.

We kept you posted on the highlights of the Stenson vs. Aphibarnrat match right here – and scroll down for our preview coverage.

• • •

Hole No. 17: Par 4, 482 yards

Stenson birdies the par-4 17th, and then wins the hole and the match after Aphibarnrat misses a 3-footer for birdie.

STENSON WINS, 2 AND 1

• • •

Hole No. 16: Par 3, 199 yards

Stenson birdies from the fringe to win the par-3 16th and take a 1-up lead.

THRU 16 HOLES: Stenson, 1 up

• • •

Hole No. 14: Par 4, 449 yards

Despite finding the rough off the tee and the sand with his second shot, Stenson wins the par-4 14th with par as Aphibarnrat misses a short par save.

THRU 14 HOLES: All square

• • •

Hole No. 12: Par 3, 219 yards

Aphibarnrat takes his third 1-up lead of the match, making birdie to take the par-3 12th hole.

THRU 12 HOLES: Aphibarnrat, 1 up

• • •

Hole No. 11: Par 5, 659 yards

Stenson evens the match back up with a birdie at the par-5 11th.

THRU 11 HOLES: All square

• • •

Hole No. 10: Par 4, 493 yards

Aphibarnrat wins a second straight hole with par, at the 10th, and he's got his first lead since the first hole.

THRU 10 HOLES: Aphibarnrat, 1 up

• • •

Hole No. 9: Par 4, 476 yards

Aphibarnrat rebounds from his first bogey of the match to win the ninth with par and even things back up.

THRU 9 HOLES: All square

• • •

Hole No. 8: Par 5, 576 yards

After four straight halves, Aphibarnrat bogeys the par-5 eighth and Stenson takes his first lead.

THRU 8 HOLES: Stenson, 1 up

• • •

Hole No. 4: Par 4, 393 yards

Stenson birdies the par-3 second to square the match back up before both players halve the fourth with par. The two have combined for four birdies so far.

THRU 4 HOLES: All square

• • •

Hole No. 1: Par 4, 460 yards

The 64th-seeded Aphibarnrat birdies the opening hole to take the early lead.

THRU 1 HOLE: Aphibarnrat, 1 up

• • •

Henrik Stenson

  • OWGR Rank: 3
  • Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: 11
  • 2014 PGA Tour results: T-31, WGC-HSBC Champions
  • Match Play results (since 2009): T-33 (2013); T-33 (2011); T-33 (2010); T-33 (2009)
  • Comments: Stenson has failed to get past the first round in the last four years in Match Play. Then again, did anyone expect him to win the Race to Dubai and FedEx Cup title?

• • •

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

  • OWGR Rank: 67
  • Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: 155
  • 2014 PGA Tour results: T-3, CIMB Classic; T-55, HSBC Champions; T-67, Waste Management Phoenix Open
  • Match Play results (since 2009): None
  • Comments: As the lowest seed, the one they call The Big Unit will have a tough task of knocking off top-seeded Henrik Stenson. But the defending Asian Tour money winner is long off the tee and is pretty skilled with the flatstick, as well.

• • •

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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