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World Golf Championships

Tournament Preview

The best of the PGA and European Tours collide beginning on Wednesday as the World Gold Championships - Accenture Match Play Championship kicks off at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Marana, Arizona.

The Match Play is unique among the tour in that it is a single-elimination match play event pitting the top 64 players in the world against each other, seeded according to the most current rankings.

World No.1 Tiger Woods, as well as Phil Mickelson, are not on hand this weekend as they recover from injury.

The first round will see 32 matchups, beginning with England's Ian Poulter and the US' Rickie Fowler teeing off at 7:25 a.m. and Ernie Els and Scotand's Stephen Gallacher being the last men on the course at 12:35 p.m.

Its the Match Play Championship debut for such young players as Canada's Graham DeLaet and the US' Jordan Spieth and Jimmie Walker.

Also in the field are former Match Play champions Luke Donald, who won the event in 2011; defending champion Matt Kuchar, who has a career record of 15-3 in this event;
2012 champion Hunter Mahan; 2010 champion Ian Poulter; 2008 winner Henrik Stenson and 2001 winner Steve Stricker.

02/20/14, Thursday

It was a bad day to be a No. 3 seed at the WCG Accenture Match Play Championship on Wednesday.

The No. 3 seeds in both the Bobby Jones and Ben Hogan Brackets were upset on the tournament's opening day. Steve Stricker, the 2001 champion, fell to George Coetzee 3 and 1 while 2010 winner Ian Poulter was upset by Rickie Fowler 2 and 1.

The biggest upsets of the day came in the Sam Snead Bracket, where both No. 1 seed Zach Johnson and No. 2 seed Dustin Johnson were thoroughly whipped.

Richard Sterne knocked off Zach Johnson 5 and 4, while Peter Hanson elminated Dustin Johnson 4 and 3.

None of the other No. 1 seeds had it any easier. 2008 champion Henrik Stenson defeated Kiradech Aphibanrat 2 and 1 in the Bobby Jones bracket; Rory McIlroy edged Boo Weekly 3 and 2 in the Hogan Bracket; and Justin Rose knocked off Scott Piercy 1 up in the Gary Player Bracket.

Also falling victim int he first round was 2011 champion Luke Donald, a fifth seed, defeated by 12th seed Matteo Manassero.

Hunter Mahan, the 2012 champion, moved on with a 3 and 2 win over Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. Matt Kuchar, the defending champion, improved his career mark at Accenture to a gaudy 16-3 with his handy 3 and 2 victory over Bernd Wiesberger in the Gary Player Bracket.

The second-round matchups for Friday are as follows:

Bobby Jones Bracket - #1 Henrik Stenson vs. #8 Louis Oosthuizen; #2 Jason Day vs. #10 Billy Horschel; #4 Brandt Snedeker vs. #5 Webb Simpson; #11 Patrick Reed vs. #14 George Coetzee.

Ben Hogan Bracket - #1 Rory McIlroy vs. #9 Harris English; #2 Sergio Garcia vs. #7 Bill Haas; #4 Charl Schwartzel vs. #5 Jim Furyk; #6 Jimmy Walker vs. #14 Rickie Fowler.

Gary Player Bracket - #1 Justin Rose vs. #8 Ernie Els; #2 Matt Kuchar vs. #7 Ryan Moore; #3 Jordan Spieth vs. #6 Thomas Bjorn; #4 Jason Dufner vs. #12 Matteo Manassero.

Sam Snead Bracket - #3 Bubba Watson vs. #11 Jonas Blixt; #4 Graeme McDowell vs. #5 Hideki Matsuyama; #7 Victor Dubuisson vs. #15 Peter Hanson; #8 Hunter Mahan vs. #16 Richard Stearne.

02/21/14, Friday

It was more of the same in the second round of the World Golf Championships Accenture Match Play on Thursday as top seed after top seed tumbled out of contention.
Henrik Stenson, the top overall seed and top seed in the Bobby Jones Bracket, was dominated by South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen, 4 and 3.

Ben Hogan Bracket top seed Rory McIlroy fell on the 19th hole to Harris English and fan favorite Ernie Els outlasted Gary Player Bracket top seed Justin Rose in 20 holes.

The Sam Snead Bracket, which saw its top two players - Zach Johnson and Dustin Johnson - eliminated on Day One, was the only of the four brackets in which all four higher tabbed seeds one their matches on Thursday.

Bubba Watson defeated Jonas Blixt 2 up, Graeme McDowell edged Hideki Matsuyama 1 up, Victor Dubisson ended the Cinderella run of Peter Hanson 3 and 1 and Hunter Mahan did likewise to Richard Sterne, 2 up.

While the tournament was cruel on No. 1 seeds, three of the four second seeds have advanced to the round of 16 - Jason Day, Sergio Garcia and Matt Kuchar.

Garcia had the easiest time, knocking off Bill Haas 3 and 1, while Kuchar had to go the full 18 to beat Ryan Moore 1 up.

Nothing could compared to Day's win over Billy Horschel, which took 22 holes.

The rest of Day's Bobby Jones Bracket saw mild upsets as fifth-seeded Webb Simpson took out fourth-seeded Brandt Snedeker 4 and 3 and 14th-seeded George Coetzee eded 11th-seeded Patrick Reed in 21 holes.

Coetzee is one of two 14th seeds to make it to the third round, the other being Rickie Fowler, who edged Jimmy Walker, arguably the hottest golfer on tour entering this weekend, 1 up.

Jim Furyk earned the other spot in the third round from the Hogan Bracket, edging South Africa's Charl Schwartzel, 3 and 2.

In the Player Bracket, 20-year-old Jordan Spieth had the easiest win of the day, whipping Thomas Bjorn 5 and 4, while Jason Dufner edged Matteo Manassero 2 and 1.

The third-round matchups for Friday are as follows:

Jones Bracket
Webb Simpson (5) vs. Louis Oosthuizen (8)
Jason Day (2) vs. George Coetzee (14)

Hogan Bracket
Jim Furyk (5) vs. Harris English (9)
Sergio Garcia (2) vs. Rickie Fowler (14)

Player Bracket
Ernie Els (8) vs. Jason Dufner (4)
Jordan Spieth (3) vs. Matt Kuchar (2)

Snead Bracket
Hunter Mahan (8) vs. Graeme McDowell (4)
Victor Dubuisson (7) vs. Bubba Watson (3)

02/22/14, Saturday

Jordan Spieth was one year old the first time Ernie Els won a Major in 1994. Fate has paired the two together for a shot at the final four of the World Golf Championships Accenture Match Play on Saturday.

Els, 44, a four-time Major winner, and Spieth, 20, the 2013 PGA Rookie of the Year, both took wins in Friday's third round of play to advance to the finals of the Gary Player Bracket.

Els did it by birdying No. 18 to defeat PGA champion Jason Dufner 1-up, a day after knocking out defending US Open champ Justin Rose.

Spieth knocked out defending champion Matt Kuchar 2 and 1 thanks to a card highlighted by 10 birdies.

Spieth is one of just two top three seeds to make it to the round of eight.

The other is Bobby Jones Bracket #2 seed Jason Day, who handled 14th-seeded George Coetzee 3 and 1 on Friday.

Day will take on eighth-seeded Louis Oosthuizen, who routed fifth-seeded Webb Simpson 5 and 4.

The Ben Hogan Bracket produced two of the craziest results of the day. Rickie Fowler, a 14th seed, defeated #2 seed Sergio Garcia in no small part due to Garcia conceding an 18-foot putt to Fowler to halve a hole.

The concession came one hole after Garcia felt he had taken too much time on a shot after his ball landed near a sprinkler head swarming with bees.

In a surprising display of compassion, the oft-fiery Garcia conceded the putt to Fowler on the next hole, even though his own putt was just seven feet.

Fowler will face off against fifth-seed Jim Furyk, who edged Harris English 1-up. Furyk is the fan favorite at the course, considering he played his college golf just down the road in Tucson at the University of Arizona.

The Sam Snead Bracket will pit fourth-seeded Graeme McDowell against seventh-seeded Victor Dubuisson.

McDowell continues to seem like he's got a deal with the devil this week. Down two shots with two holes to go against Hunter Mahan, who entered the day with a 14-4 record here, McDowell won the last two holes to force extra time, hit a 20-foot par putt on the 20th hole, then won the match with a 15-foot birdie on the 21st hole.

The 23-year-old Dubuisson, virtually unknown in the United States, is the fresh face here, even with Spieth around. In his last four European Tour events, the native of France has three top 5 finishes. On Friday he edged Bubba Watson 1 up.

02/23/14, Sunday

Ernie Els eliminated one young gun on Saturday; he'll take on another in Sunday's WCG Accenture Match Play semifinals.

Els knocked off 20-year-old Jordan Spieth 4 & 2 on Saturday to advance to a matchup against 23-year-old Victor Dubuisson of France. Els, at 44, is more than 20 years the senior of both young players.

Dubuisson, a rising star on the European Tour this season, advanced to the semifinals with a 1 up win over Graeme McDowell, who missed wide left on a 25-foot putt that would have sent the match to extra holes.

The other semifinals will match Rickie Fowler against Jason Day.

The Aussie Day eliminated South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen with a 2 & 1 victory. It's Day's second straight year in the semifinals.

Fowler, who is the first player seeded as high as 53rd to reach the semifinals since No. 59 Zach Johnson did so in 2006, defeated home state favorite Jim Furyk with a 1-up victory.

Tournament Recap

Australia's Jason Day outlasted the magic of 23-year-old Frenchman Victor Dubuisson in 23 holes in the final of the World Golf Championships Accenture Match Play on Sunday in Arizona.

At just 26 years old himself, Day is the youngest winner in the tournament's history. He finished third a year ago.

Day never trailed, but he never had the match socked away either. Dubuisson made amazing saves on the 20th and 21st holes. It was the first time the final of the Accenture has ever gone extra holes.

On the 23rd, Dubuisson's luck ran out as he went wide on a 32-foot birdie putt, while Day made his from four feet away. The win pushed him up to 11th in the FedEx Cup standings.

The third-place match also went extra holes - 19 in fact before 14th seeded Rickie Fowler edged Ernie Els. It looked like Els was destined for the finals as he built a three-hole lead after six holes in the semifinals on Sunday morning.

But Dubuisson rallied back, using a par putt on No. 18 to take on Day, who edged Folwer 3 and 2.

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