Day Two matches feature major champions, trending players

Second Round Matches – World Golf Championships – Accenture Match Play Championship – Dove Mountain Golf Club – Marana, Arizona –

All but three of Thursday’s sixteen round two matches involve an American-born player at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona.

Some 15 U.S.-born players remain in the field to top all countries with South Africa’s five players next best.

Heading into day two, five of the Official World Golf Ranking Top 10 players are still in the field. Three skipped the tournament (Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson) and two were eliminated – Zach Johnson (losing 5&4 to Richard Sterne) and Dustin Johnson (dropping his match 4&3 to Peter Hanson).

The top-ranked player in the field Henrik Stenson – the reigning FedEx Cup and Race To Dubai champion – edged Kiradech Aphibarnrat 2&1. Stenson had six birdies through 17 holes to advance. He takes on former Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen in day two. They tee at 11:44 a.m. local time.

Other top matches to watch Thursday including Matt Kuchar, the defending champion, against Ryan Moore teeing off at 10:32 .m. Both are former U.S. Amateur champions. Kuchar has a current longest win streak at seven wins. He is 16-3 overall at this event. Woods has the record for longest run at 13.

The winner of former major champions Jim Furyk and Charl Schwartzel takes on the victor between Rory McIlroy and Harris English, who only lost one hole Wednesday in beating Lee Westwood, come Friday’s third-round action.

Reigning U.S. Open champion Justin Rose (U.S. Open) and Ernie Els (the 2012 Open Championship) meet Thursday at 12:08 p.m. Both won tight opening round matches.

Other Day One notes:

Bobby Jones Bracket:

  • Brandt Snedeker, 2-down with five to play, edged David Lynn in 20 holes to advance to play Webb Simpson, who beat Thongchai Jaidee 3&2 after being 2-down through four holes. The winner of this match is pitted against the winner of Stenson-Oosthuizen on Friday.
  • No.2-seed Jason Day, one of the favorites this week, won No. 17 and 18 for a 2-Up victory against Thorbjorn Olesen. He meets Billy Horschel (6&5 over Jamie Donaldson) in round two.
  • Upsets surrounded the bottom of the bracket with 11th-seeded Patrick Reed knocking off No. 6 Graham DeLaet 1-Up and 14th-seed George Coetzee eliminating Steve Stricker 3&1.

Ben Hogan Bracket:

  • No.2-seed Sergio Garcia needed 22 holes to bounce Marc Leishman. He takes on Bill Haas Thursday.
  • Rickie Fowler upset an experienced Ian Poulter 2&1. Poulter, a former match play champion, has played the third most matches in tournament history with 34.
  • Jimmy Walker, a No. 6-seed and leading the FedEx Cup standings, ousted Branden Grace 5&4. Walker dropped just one hole in the match.

Gary Player Bracket:

  • Reigning PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner advanced past Scott Stallings in 19 holes and takes on Matteo Manassero (beat Luke Donald 5&4) Thursday.
  • Jordan Spieth made four straight birdies between No. 12 and 15 to go from 1-down to 2-UP in his match. He went on to win 2-UP and meets Race To Dubai standings leader Thomas Bjorn Thursday. Bjorn was a 2&1 winner against Francesco Molinari.

 Sam Snead Bracket: 

  • Hunter Mahan, 12-to-1 to win the whole tournament at Station Casinos in Las Vegas before the week began, meets Sterne in Match 43. Mahan has back-to-back finals appearances here. He is 16-5 in match play with just two losses at this layout.
  • Trailing 3-Down with three to go, Graeme McDowell rallied to beat Gary Woodland in 19 holes. He faces Hideki Matsuyama in day two.
  • Bubba Watson, a winner last week at Riviera, won four holes in a five-hole stretch for a comeback victory against Mikko Ilonen.
  • Jonas Blixt bounced Keegan Bradley 2&1. Blixt faces Bubba Thursday.

Other Golf News:

  • Anna Nordqvist leads the LPGA Tour’s Honda LPGA Thailand after opening with a 66.  She is a shot ahead of Michelle Wie. Lexi Thompson is T-3, while Suzann Pettersen sits T-6 just a few shot back.
  • Inbee Park, the Rolex Ranking World No. 1, shot 1-under-71 in Thailand. She is T-14 alongside Stacy Lewis after 18 holes.
  • Former WGC-Match Play champion Jeff Maggert turned 50 years of age and plans to play the Champions Tour. Maggert had three PGA Tour victories in his career including the 1999 match play title.
  • Zach Johnson was the only No. 1 seed to fall in day one of match play. It was his second straight year with a first-round exit. Sterne was a plus-170 underdog at Station Casinos to beat Johnson.
  • Dustin Johnson, who had back-to-back runner-up finishes heading into Arizona, looked overworked. He has dropped out in the first round in six of the last seven match play events.