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Donald to face Els at Match Play

ESPN staff
February 20, 2012 « Harry sees funny side as Bernstein watches bore draw | Chartbeat test »
Luke Donald will be hoping to defend his title © PA Photos
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World No. 1 Luke Donald will kick off his defence of the WGC-Accenture Match Play with a first-round tie against Ernie Els on Wednesday.

Donald, a dominant victor of the tournament in Arizona last year, will be drawn against Els - the lowest ranked player in the field - when it is formally announced on Monday. Els and compatriot George Coetzee are in the 64-man field after both Phil Mickelson and Paul Casey opted not to play in the event.

Second seed Rory McIlroy will begin his campaign against Coetzee, while world No. 20 Tiger Woods will face Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.

British competitors have all got intriguing first-round ties - with Justin Rose drawing Paul Lawrie, Martin Laird facing big-hitting Alvaro Quiros and Darren Clarke coming up against Nick Watney. Ian Poulter faces rising South Korean Bae Sang-moon, while Simon Dyson will play John Senden, Graeme McDowell meets YE Yang and Lee Westwood will look to overcome Nicolas Colsaerts.

The draw was finalised after the announcement of the latest world rankings - which saw Northern Trust Open winner Bill Haas move up 10 places to 12th with his fourth PGA Tour victory. Play-off loser Phil Mickelson is back in the top 10 at No. 9, while fellow runner-up Keegan Bradley leapfrogged Woods into 19th.

On the European Tour, Avantha Masters winner Jbe Kruger is up to world No. 109.

World Rankings: 1. Luke Donald (ENG), 2. Rory McIlroy (NIR), 3. Lee Westwood (ENG), 4. Martin Kaymer (GER), 5. Steve Stricker (USA), 6. Webb Simpson (USA), 7. Jason Day (AUS), 8. Adam Scott (AUS), 9. Phil Mickelson (USA), 10. Dustin Johnson (USA), 11. Charl Schwartzel (RSA), 12. Bill Haas (USA), 13. Graeme McDowell (NIR) 14. Matt Kuchar (USA), 15. Nick Watney (USA), 16. Sergio Garcia (ESP), 17. KJ Choi (KOR), 18. Brandt Snedeker (USA), 19. Keegan Bradley (USA), 20. Tiger Woods (USA).

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