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  • WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, Round One

Tiger and Rory crash out in Arizona

ESPN staff
February 22, 2013 « Poulter & Rose progress in Arizona | Chartbeat test »
Rory McIlroy has work to do on his game after being beaten by Shane Lowry in Arizona © AP
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WGC Match Play Championship draw and results

The WGC Match Play Championship has a history of providing shocks and two of the biggest were served up as Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods crashed out in Arizona.

McIlroy, the world No. 1, was beaten one-up by Shane Lowry, while world Mo. 2 Woods was ousted 2&1 by Charles Howell III.

It is the second first-round loss for Woods in three years, but he did not play badly - being bogey free and making two birdies. He just bumped into an opponent at the top of his game.

"It's the nature of the format," Woods said. "You've just got to beat the guy you're playing against, and I didn't do that today. Chucky won the match."

The pair were given the option to suspend play after 16 holes but elected to carry on. Woods felt he could find a couple of birdies but Howell, who never trailed in the match, stood firm to progress. Woods levelled the match with a win on the 13th but the match tipped Howell's way with birdies for wins on 15 and 16

Woods' fellow Nike pal McIlroy will join him on the plane home following defeat to Lowry. The pair are close pals and it appeared as if the star was set to shine following the lengthy weather delay as McIlroy raced into a two-hole lead. McIlroy was pegged back but a bogey from Lowry handed the initiative back to McIlroy.

The match, though, turned at the 12th as Lowry chipped in for birdie to win the hole and then eagled 13 to move two-up. McIlroy got back to within one when taking the 14th but he found three bunkers while making his way down the 15th and three pars coming home were enough for Lowry to celebrate victory.

"I didn't make enough birdies in the end," McIlroy said. "Shane had a nice little stretch around part of the back nine. I hung in there, but I just didn't do enough."

Lowry said: "At the end I just tried to stay in the present. I ttried to play one shot at a time. I knew he was going to be under pressure coming down the stretch, especially when I was a couple up. That's why I was quite annoyed at myself that I handed him 14. I can't really afford to do that against him, what I thought.

"But he obviously felt the pressure. I mean, everyone feels the pressure. It's the world match play at the end of the day, and everyone that's here deserves to be here, and no one is going to be an easy match."

Luke Donald narrowly avoided it being the top three seeds who crashed out as he holed a 10-foot birdie putt to halve the 17th hole and then birdied 18 to beat Marcel Siem.

Lee Westwood, though, did fall as Rafael Cabrera-Bello secured victory on the 19th after Westwood missed a six-foot par putt for victory on the 18th.

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