Stenson and McIlroy through
Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy made it through to round two of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, but top American seed Zach Johnson was knocked out.
After a poor round, Stenson trailed Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat with five holes to play, but fortunately for the Swede, Aphibarnrat’s putter was about to turn cold.
The Thai missed a four-footer on the 14th, carding a bogey and losing the hole, then missed another eight-foot putt on the next hole.
Meanwhile Stenson holed a 20-footer birdie on the 16th and won the match when Aphibarnrat missed a birdie putt from five feet.
“I’m still in shock,” said 37-year-old Stenson, who is yet to win a Major.
Rory McIlroy had it easy against Boo Weekly of the United States, advancing through to the next round 3 and 2. There was a comical moment on the course when the Northern Irishman’s recovery shot out the sand nearly took out a cameraman and caused a spectator to fall in a cactus.
“I played well I guess for the first 12 holes,” said McIlroy.
“I might have got a bit complacent the last few holes and gave Boo a couple but I’m just happy to get through to the next round.”
Leading American Zach Johnson was sent packing by South Africa’s Richard Stern following his 5 and 4 victory. This was the fourth straight year that Johnson, world number six, has lost in the first round.
It was also a day to forget for top American seeds Dustin Johnson and Steve Stricker, as they crashed out to Peter Hanson of Sweden and South African George Coetzee respectively.
Second Justin Rose held off Scott Piercy while former champion Ian Poulter lost to Rickie Fowler 2 and 1.
“Disappointed with my performance today, did not deserve to move on,” Poulter wrote on Twitter. “Congrats to Rickie Fowler.”
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