Friday, February 22, 2013


Nicolas Colsaerts overcame Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose as another of the Official World Golf Ranking’s top ten made an early exit from the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson.
One of the favourites for the title after the first-round defeats of world top two Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, fifth seed Rose was beaten 4 and 2 by Colsaerts.
And with third seed Luke Donald, winner two years ago, losing four of the first five holes to American Scott Piercy, conqueror of another Ryder Cup hero, Paul Lawrie, on Thursday,  the shocks looked like coming thick and fast again.
At least Ian Poulter, Donald's predecessor as champion, was going well. He led American Bo Van Pelt by three after 12.
A Colsaerts victory was not that big a surprise in truth - the Belgian won the Volvo World Match Play in Spain last year, had eight birdies and an eagle in his first-ever Ryder Cup game last September and began this week with a crushing 5 and 4 win over American Bill Haas.
Rose actually won the first hole, but he could not match his big-hitting opponent's birdie on the long second and by the seventh was already three down.
A birdie at the ninth and eagle on the 11th - both with 14 foot putts - hinted at a comeback, but the Englishman plugged his ball in a bunker on the next and Colsaerts hit his approach to two feet at the 14th.
The 15th was halved in birdie threes - Colsaerts drove the green on the par four - and it ended on the following green when Rose three-putted.
After a 2 and 1 win over Scot Stephen Gallacher, unbeaten Ryder Cup hero Poulter fell behind to Van Pelt on the fourth, but a tee shot to three feet two holes later turned the tide.
The American fluffed a chip at the next, Poulter birdied the eighth and further wins came at the start of the back nine.
Donald gave Piercy all the encouragement he needed by double-bogeying the opening hole, but losing the fifth had nothing to do with what the world number three did - Piercy sank his approach for an eagle 2.
Following Wednesday's freakish snowstorm and then the loss of Thursday morning as well while the course was made playable, it was decided to play only the second round today and then try to cram the last 16 and quarter-finals into Saturday.
The first round actually spilled into a third day, Swede Carl Pettersson overcoming Rickie Fowler at the 19th after the American had birdied the last two, while Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño beat Italian Ryder Cup player Francesco Molinari at the last.
Pettersson then took on McIlroy's conqueror Shane Lowry and Fernandez-Castaño faced the man who knocked out Woods, his former Presidents Cup partner Charles Howell III.
Trying to climb into the OWGR's top 50 to qualify for The Masters Tournament - he is currently 68th and needs to make the semi-finals to do it this week - Lowry set off in fine style with a six foot birdie putt and was still one up after four.
Graeme McDowell, who put out Padraig Harrington in the other all-Ireland first-round duel, was level after two with another Swede, Alex Noren.

Europe's contingent became even smaller when Sergio Garcia lost to American Matt Kuchar 2 and 1, and by the turn Donald was six down to Piercy, who covered the outward half in just 30 strokes.
Poulter came to the 15th two up, however, while another six foot birdie putt gave Lowry a two-hole lead on the sixth.

(Arizona time):
Carl Pettersson (Sweden) bt Rickie Fowler  1 hole.
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spain) bt Francesco Molinari (Italy) 2 holes.

Follow the live scoring service from the US PGA Tour website on the second-round matches at the WGC-Accenture World Match-play Championship at Dove Mountain,




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