Match 41-Robert Garrigus over Louis Oosthuizen
I wasn’t sure that Oosthuizen deserved his #1 seeding, but he wasn’t one of the two top seeds who went down. Oosty got a good match from Richie Ramsay but ultimately dispatched him 2 and 1. He’ll have another tough matchup in round 2, and I think Garrigus has the chance to pull the upset. I wrote that I thought the Robert Garrigus-Branden Grace winner would have a good shot in the second round and I’ll stick with that pick by going with Garrigus in this one. Garrigus hits much longer than the diminutive but formidable South African, and if he opens like he did yesterday he’ll be hard to catch. Garrigus got birdies on five of his first eight holes and cruised to a 4 and 3 win. This should be one of the better matches of the day.
Match 42- Fredrik Jacobson over Marcus Fraser
Jacobson came in playing well and used that momentum to help him defeat the higher-seeded Ernie Els despite having to overcome an early deficit. He’ll take on Aussie Marcus Fraser in round 2 who played at +2 but was still able to defeat Keegan Bradley 1 up. Fraser made some clutch shots, but will definitely need to clean up his card if he wants a chance at beating the Swede who is coming off a pair of top tens and a win in his first Accenture Match Play match yesterday.
Match 43-Luke Donald over Scott Piercy
Donald survived an upset attempt by German Marcel Siem with a 1 up win knocking in six birdies including important putts on the final two greens. Scott Piercy had an easier time of dispatching Paul Lawrie as he secured wins on the first two holes and cruising to a 4 and 3 win without ever trailing. Donald won this event two years ago before getting upset as the top-seed last year. He has the experience and looks in form to go on another extended run.
Match 44-Nick Watney over Steve Stricker
In this All-American matchup, Stricker and Watney face off after both won their match 5 and four yesterday. Stricker took holes 1-3 and cruised to a 5 and 4 win over Henrik Stenson. Stricker has had past success at this event, but not very recently as his win here came back in 2001. Watney has had more recent success reaching the third round or further in all three of his appearances at this event. This will be a really good match, but I’ll take the “young gun” Watney over the veteran Stricker. Stricker hasn’t played competitively since Kapalua while Watney has played four events on tour this year already with his best a t4 at the Farmers.
Match 45- Rickie Fowler/Carl Pettersson winner over Shane Lowry
Lowry won a shocker over #1 overall seed Rory McIlroy yesterday and will face the winner of the Fowler/Pettersson match which Pettersson leads by one going into the final hole. Lowry needed some pretty spectacular shots including several great hole-outs from off the green to beat Rory. If Pettersson is able to finish up Fowler or if Rickie comes back to win, I think they’ll be able to beat the Irishman and move on to the third round. Lowry needed all the breaks to win and I don’t think he’ll ge them for two days in a row.
Match 46-Graeme McDowell over Alexander Noren
McDowell must be happy not to have Y.E. Yang in the field this year since Yang knocked him out of this event that last two years. Instead of Yang, McDowell teed off in round one against Padraig Harrington who he beat in a hard-fought match that didn’t finish until the 18th. McDowell had the match, let it get away, and then won it again with a strong finish. He moves on to face little-known Swedish golfer Alexander Noren. Noren demolished Dustin Johnson 6 and 4 with seven birdies including four in a row starting at #10. Noren had only played the Accenture once before losing in the first round to Geoff Ogilvy. Noren’s best finish of the year-to-date was in the Qatar Masters where he finished t4, but he does have four professional wins with his most recent coming in July of 2011 at the Nordea Masters.
Match 47-Charles Howell III over Molinari/Fernandez-Castano winner
The biggest upset in the mind of most golf fans on day one (although not by the numbers) was CH3 getting the win over Tiger. He dominated the match never trailing and playing solid golf all day long. At the end of the day, Tiger said he felt like he played well, but Howell played that much better with a bogey-free, two-birdie round that was good enough to get the best of Woods. He’ll face the winner of the match between Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Francesco Molinari, which was postponed due to darkness with the match all square through 15 holes. Howell played well enough that I think he’ll get the win regardless of who he faces in round 2.
Match 48-Webb Simpson over Peter Hanson
Hanson and Simpson both won matches they were favored to win in the first round. Hanson is struggling with a bad back and may not have been able to play at all on Wednesday. Simpson started hot and never trailed while losing only a hole on his way to a 5 and 4 win over David Lynn. Simpson looked dominant in round one, and with Tiger out of the way could easily reach the elite eight. In this bracket (Gary Player bracket) the #1, #2, and #3 seeds all went down leaving Simpson as the #4 and Hanson as the #5 as the highest seeds left. Hunter Mahan and Martin Kaymer lurk on the other side of the bracket both with past success in this event.