Top News

Westwood, Woods among Match-Play top seeds

(China Daily)
Updated: 2011-02-23 07:46
Large Medium Small

MARANA, Arizona - England's Lee Westwood will make his first US start as world No 1 against Sweden's Henrik Stenson when the $1.4 million World Golf Championships Match-Play Championship begins on Wednesday.

And third-ranked Tiger Woods, a three-time Match-Play champion who is also a top seed in his quarter of the 64-man bracket, will open against Denmark's Thomas Bjorn, a two-time British Open runner-up who won at Qatar two weeks ago.

German world No 2 Martin Kaymer and reigning Masters champion Phil Mickelson are also top seeds in pairings that follow world rankings except for 2007 Match-Play winner Stenson, in from 65th after Japan's 64th-ranked Toru Taniguchi withdrew due to a neck injury.

Mickelson opens against Australian Brendan Jones while 2010 PGA Championship winner Kaymer's first match will be against South Korean Noh Seung-yul.

Woods, still seeking his first victory since the sex scandal that erupted 16 months ago, faces a tough draw in order to end his drought this week.

Woods, a 14-time major champion, won the event in 2003, 2004 and 2008, but none of those was contested on the current Dove Mountain course.

Irishman Padraig Harrington, a three-time major champion, and Australian Geoff Ogilvy, who won the event in 2006 and 2009, meet in a first-round feature matchup with Woods, if he advances, facing the winner in the second round.

England's Paul Casey, the WGC Match-Play runner-up the past two years and a second seed this year, plus South African stars Ernie Els and Tim Clark and Colombia's Camilo Villegas, third last year, are among possible quarterfinal foes for Woods.

In 10 starts at the event, Westwood has never reached the third round, but he will be expected to break that barrier, in part because Stenson's only top-10 effort since 2009 in a PGA-sanctioned event was his share of third at last year's British Open.

Westwood's potential second-round foes are Americans Anthony Kim and Nick Watney with South African Retief Goosen, Italy's Francesco Molinari and South Korean K.J. Choi among his possible third-round rivals.

US second seed Steve Stricker, who opens against Italian teen Matteo Manassero, or English third seed Luke Donald could await Westwood in the quarterfinals.

Japan's Ryo Ishikawa and Italy's Edoardo Molinari are also in that portion of the bracket.

Mickelson could face rising US star Rickie Fowler in round two and either reigning British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa or US veteran Matt Kuchar in round three of a difficult draw to the last four.

Agence France-Presse