Coetzee def. Stricker 3 and 2 in WGC Match Play

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

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

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Third-seeded Steve Stricker, making his season debut, trailed for the entire match against George Coetzee before losing, 3 and 2.

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

• • •

Hole No. 17: Par 4, 482 yards

Stricker lips out a birdie putt and concedes a birdie to Coetzee, who takes the hole and the match.

COETZEE WINS, 3 AND 2

• • •

Hole No. 15: Par 4, 343 yards

Coetzee ends Stricker's run of two straight hole victories by winning the par-4 15th with a birdie.

THRU 15 HOLES: Coetzee, 2 up

• • •

Hole No. 14: Par 4, 449 yards

Stricker birdied the par-5 13th and now birdies the par-4 14th to pull within a hole of Coetzee.

THRU 14 HOLES: Coetzee, 1 up

• • •

Hole No. 9: Par 4, 476 yards

Coetzee gets a hole back and is back to 3 up on Stricker after winning the par-4 ninth with par. Stricker now has four bogeys in his first nine holes.

THRU 9 HOLES: Coetzee, 3 up

• • •

Hole No. 8: Par 5, 576 yards

Stricker finally cards a birdie and it gives him the victory at the par-5 eighth. Coetzee, who made par at the eighth, still leads, though.

THRU 8 HOLES: Coetzee, 2 up

• • •

Hole No. 7: Par 4, 486 yards

Stricker bogeys for the third time today, and it costs him another hole. Coetzee's par at the par-4 seventh gives him a 3-up lead. Neither player has birdied yet today.

THRU 7 HOLES: Coetzee, 3 up

• • •

Hole No. 2: Par 5, 574 yards

Coetzee takes a second straight hole with par as Stricker bogeys again.

THRU 2 HOLES: Coetzee, 2 up

• • •

Hole No. 1: Par 4, 460 yards

George Coetzee makes par at the opening hole while Stricker, who is ranked first overall in the Golfweek/Sagarin Pro Rankings, makes bogey to fall behind early. Stricker is also making his season debut this week.

THRU 1 HOLE: Coetzee, 1 up

• • •

Steve Stricker

  • OWGR Rank: 12
  • Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: 1
  • 2014 PGA Tour results: None
  • Match Play results (since 2009): 3rd (2013); T-17 (2012); T-9 (2011)
  • Comments: Stricker wasn't sure he was even going to play this week with his brother awaiting a liver transplant, but that happened and allowed the veteran to make his Tour debut this week. Obviously going to have some rust, but Stricker is one of the best putters on Tour, so don't expect an early-round upset.

• • •

George Coetzee

  • OWGR Rank: 59
  • Golfweek/Sagarin Rank: 129
  • 2014 PGA Tour results: 74th, HSBC Champions
  • Match Play results (since 2009): T-33 (2013); T-33 (2012)
  • Comments: Coetzee, who is coming off a victory at the Joburg Open, hasn't made it past the first round in his two previous Match Play starts, but he can get hot with the putter.

• • •

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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