Furyk def. Kirk 2 & 1 in WGC Match Play

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

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No. 5 Ben Hogan bracket seed Jim Furyk falls two behind No. 12 seed Chris Kirk out of the gate in the WGC-Accenture Match Play, with Furyk answering at the third hole to quickly cut the deficit in half – then moving ahead at the fifth and hanging on the rest of the way for an opening-round victory.

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

• • •

Hole No. 17: Par 4, 482 yards

A seventh straight halve, combined with his two-shot margin, gives Furyk a win in the first round against the closely matched Kirk.

FURYK WINS, 2 & 1

• • •

Hole No. 16: Par 3, 199 yards

After a Kirk birdie wins the eighth and a Furyk birdie wins the 10th, these two halve six straight holes to take this match down to the wire.

THRU 16 HOLES: Furyk, 2 up

• • •

Hole No. 7: Par 4, 486 yards

Winning four out of the last five holes, Furyk expands his lead over the closely matched opponent, Kirk – all, unfortunately, because of bogeys by the younger and lower-seeded player.

THRU SEVEN HOLES: Furyk, 2 up

• • •

Hole No. 5: Par 4, 536 yards

Furyk wins the fourth hole with par to square the match – then pars again as Kirk bogeys his second straight hole and Furyk moves out front for the first time. There's yet to be a halved hole here, folks.

THRU FIVE HOLES: Furyk, 1 up

• • •

Hole No. 3: Par 3, 208 yards

Furyk doesn't let things get out of hand early – his first birdie is the match's third in as many holes, and keeps him close to the quietly successful Kirk.

THRU THREE HOLES: Kirk, 1 up

• • •

Hole No. 2: Par 5, 574 yards

Another birdie for Kirk gets him 2 up in a hurry against Furyk. The two are separated by just 13 spots in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, which give weight to recent performance, so Furyk should have his hands full today.

THRU TWO HOLES: Kirk, 2 up

• • •

Hole No. 1: Par 4, 460 yards

For the first time in this Hogan bracket, an opening birdie starts the day – it's Kirk's, as the Match Play first-timer takes a quick lead in a matchup that the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings say is closer than a 5-vs.-12 seeding might make folks think.

• • •

Jim Furyk

  • OWGR Rank: 23
  • Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: 15
  • 2014 PGA Tour results: T-35, AT&T Pebble Beach; T-23, Northern Trust Open
  • Match Play results (since 2009): T-17 (2013); T-33 (2012); T-33 (2011); T-17 (2010); T-9 (2009)
  • Comments: Furyk took some time off after the FedEx Cup Playoffs and started his 2014 campaign with a pair of solid performances. He's been solid at Match Play, but not one that should register on many radars.

• • •

Chris Kirk

  • OWGR Rank: 48
  • Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: 28
  • 2014 PGA Tour results: T-36, Shriners Hospitals for Children Open; T-25, CIMB Classic; won, McGladrey Classic; T-16, Hyundai Tournament of Champions; second, Sony Open in Hawaii; 76, Waste Management Phoenix Open; T-61, AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
  • Match Play results (since 2009): None
  • Comments: Kirk's victory at the McGladrey Classic and runner-up finish at the Sony Open helped him get into his first Match Play, but he's struggled recently, finishing T-61 or worse in his two Tour starts since the Sony Open.

• • •

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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