Garcia def. Leishman 1 up in WGC Match Play

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

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No. 2 Ben Hogan bracket seed Sergio Garcia of Spain starts his opening round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play trailing Marc Leishman after back-to-back birdies at Nos. 2-3 – but Garcia answers to narrow the deficit, then repeats the feat to take his first lead of the day. The match stays close, going 22 holes, before Garcia closes things out.

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

• • •

Fourth playoff hole: No. 3: Par 3, 208 yards

The match's first birdie since the 17th hole – which had pulled Garcia even in the match – goes to the Spaniard while Leishman bogeys. Here endeth the marathon of the day.

GARCIA WINS, 1 UP

• • •

Third playoff hole: No. 3: Par 3, 208 yards

Garcia and Leishman are on the mark – the same mark, that is – once again with a pair of pars to stretch this match to a 22nd hole.

THRU 21 HOLES: All Square

• • •

Second playoff hole: No. 2: Par 5, 574 yards

Garcia has a birdie putt to win, but it curls low and short of the hole. Leishman's par attempt to extend the match is good, and they move on.

THRU 20 HOLES: All Square

• • •

First playoff hole: No. 1, Par 4, 460 yards

A pair of pars keep Garcia and Leishman on the course as they halve this one and head to the 20th.

THRU 19 HOLES: All Square

• • •

Hole No. 18: Par 4, 480 yards

From a clutch birdie by Garcia to a somewhat-clutch bogey putt by Leishman, this match sees a halve at the 18th – and they move on to extras.

THRU 18 HOLES: All Square

• • •

Hole No. 17: Par 4, 482 yards

Clutch birdie. Garcia squares the match at the penultimate hole. Will this one go to extra holes?

THRU 17 HOLES: All Square

• • •

Hole No. 15: Par 4, 343 yards

Talk about a swing in momentum: After a halve at the 13th, Garcia bogeys the 14th and Leishman birdies the 15th for two straight wins that take him from trailing to leading down the stretch.

THRU 15 HOLES: Leishman leads, 1 up

• • •

Hole No. 12: Par 3, 219 yards

After four straight halves, Garcia squares the match with a birdie at the 11th – then birdies again to take his first lead in this match. So far, when Garcia birdies, he wins that hole.

THRU 12 HOLES: Garcia leads, 1 up

• • •

Hole No. 6: Par 3, 185 yards

Following two holes of trading pars, a birdie by Garcia pulls him back within a shot of Leishman. Should be interesting to watch this one develop, given Garcia's inconsistency in Match Play and Leishman's first-timer status in this event.

THRU SIX HOLES: Leishman leads, 1 up

• • •

Hole No. 3: Par 3, 208 yards

The Aussie has his foot on the gas in a hurry, a second straight birdie pushing Leishman ahead of the No. 2-seeded Garcia. Beginner's luck, or a path to an upset?

THRU TWO HOLES: Leishman leads, 2 up

• • •

Hole No. 2: Par 5, 574 yards

Leishman earns the first birdie of the match to take an early lead as Garcia makes par. It's early, but it seems relevant that Garcia was T-33 (first-round loss) in 2012 and 2009.

THRU TWO HOLES: Leishman leads, 1 up

• • •

Hole No. 1: Par 4, 460 yards

A pair of pars get this match underway, the two competitors separated by 46 spots in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings (a slightly narrower margin than the OWGR, which stresses long-term performance more heavily).

• • •

  • Sergio Garcia

  • OWGR Rank: T-8
  • Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: 3
  • 2014 PGA Tour results: T-11, CIMB Classic; 4th, WGC-HSBC Champions
  • Match Play results (since 2009): T-17 (2013); T-33 (2012); 4th (2010); T-33 (2009)
  • Comments: A mixed bag for the Spaniard in Match Play, but has also looked good thus far this season with a Euro Tour win already under his belt. Worth at least a pick or two.

• • •

  • Marc Leishman

  • OWGR Rank: 63
  • Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: 49
  • 2014 PGA Tour results: MC, Frys.com Open; T-44, CIMB Classic; fifth, Sony Open; T-2, Farmers Insurance Open; MC, Waste Management Phoenix Open; T-59, Northern Trust Open
  • Match Play results (since 2009): None
  • Comments: This will be the Australian's first Match Play, but as far as first-timers go, Leishman is one of the safer bets to win a match or two.

• • •

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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