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Rediff.com  » Sports » Woods wins, Els loses at World Matchplay

Woods wins, Els loses at World Matchplay

February 27, 2003 12:43 IST

A showdown between world number one Tiger Woods and number two Ernie Els will have to wait for another week after both experienced contrasting fortunes at the World Matchplay Championship on Wednesday.

While Woods won his opening-round match, Els was beaten by New Zealand's Phil Tataurangi on the 20th hole.

Els entered the tournament having won four times worldwide in 2003, including the PGA Tour's first two events in Hawaii. He also finished second in another tournament.

But on Wednesday he was pushed by the 31-year-old New Zealander, with neither player leading by more than one hole during the entire match.

Tataurangi also needed a 26-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to extend the match.

"I didn't play as well as I would have liked and Ernie didn't play as well as he would have liked but when it came down to it I was maybe one shot better over 20 holes," Tataurangi said. "That's match play."

Woods, who was ousted in the opening round last year, went down early to Sweden's Carl Pettersson, but recovered by the sixth hole and never trailed again en route to a two-up win.

"I had no bogeys, three birdies and didn't really put myself in danger of making a bogey at all today," Woods said.

Woods will face South Korea's K.J. Choi, who defeated Fred Funk one up, in Thursday's second round.

UPSETS

Wednesday's opening round contained several other upsets with South Africa's fourth seed Retief Goosen eliminated by Jay Haas, while fifth seed Sergio Garcia of Spain lost to defending champion Kevin Sutherland, who is ranked 67th in the world.

Haas, 49, made birdies on the 10th and 11th holes to go three up and effectively closed out Goosen, who could manage only one birdie and two bogeys over the last five holes.

"I caught him on a off day," said Haas, who faces Japan's Shigeki Maruyama in Thursday's second round. "To be honest with you he didn't have his 'A' game."

Sutherland meanwhile, was two down at the turn recording two birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey.

A bogey at the 10th put Sutherland down three with eight holes to left, but he clawed back to even with three birdies over the next five holes.

Garcia also did not help his cause with bogeys on the 14th and 16th holes.

"You get some momentum, and I definitely got it and I was kind of riding it pretty well," Sutherland said.

"Sergio seemed like he was kind of struggling a little bit. And I was able to come back and win."

Sutherland faces Britain's Justin Rose in the second round after Rose beat David Duval in 20 holes.

Third-seed Phil Mickelson, meanwhile, avoided the cull of top players with a one-up victory over Sweden's Robert Karlsson despite carding three bogeys and a solitary birdie.

"We struggled a little bit today," Mickelson said. "If it were a stroke-play tournament, we would both be quite a ways back. But it's match play and we start even tomorrow."

Source:
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