Upsets thwart big names at WGC-Cadillac Match Play

Day One — World Golf Championships- Cadillac Match Play — TPC Harding Park — San Francisco, California —

The new format did not prevent a host of opening-round upsets at the World Golf Championships – Cadillac Match Play at TPC Harding Park.

In fact, seven of the Top 16 seeds lost their opening round matches Wednesday in Group Play. Each will have a chance to still emerge from their Group and advance Saturday to single-eliminating but they will need to sweep their next two matches and get some help along the way.

World No. 1 and top-seed Rory McIlroy was not one of the seven to struggle. Rory dispatched Jason Dufner 5&4 while in Group 2 Jordan Spieth cruised to victory against Mikko Ilonen 4&2. Also racking up victories in Day One of the Group Play were Patrick Reed and Sergio Garcia. Each of the four players in the 16 Groups play each other in round robin fashion over the first three days of the competition with the top player from each Group advancing. 

Of the top names losing in Day One and putting themselves behind the eight-8 early were Justin Rose, last week’s Zurich Classic winner, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, defending champion Jason Day, Matt Kuchar and Jimmy Walker. Rose never led in his match losing to Marc Leishman 3&2 in the opening match of the event. Stenson dropped the 18th hole to force extra holes and then immediately lost the 19th to John Senden.

Day lost 4&3 to Charley Hoffman, who has been a hot player this season tallying four Top 10s. Day lost for just the fourth time at this event now posting a 14-4 mark.

Among the surprise results were blow out victories for Francesco Molinari (one of the last players in the field) beating Scott 5&4. Scott struggles in this format only reaching the second-round in 2005 under the single-elimination format. Former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen wiped out Keegan Bradley 6&5, while former Masters champ Charl Schwartzel made quick work of last year’s runner-up Victor Dubuisson 5&4.

The shot of the day was from match play first-timer Ben Martin. He aced the 17th hole to go 1-Up and then beat Kuchar.

Other Golf news:

  • Tiger Woods, who did not qualify to compete in the WGC-Cadillac Match Play, announced his upcoming summer schedule which includes The PLAYERS Championship, U.S. Open, The Greenbrier Classic and Quicken Loans National. Woods, who is 116th in the world rankings, needs to crack the Top 50 by Aug. 3 to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron.
  • The LPGA Tour returns to action Thursday at the Volunteers of America North Texas Shootout in Irving, Texas. Brooke Henderson, 17, who finished T-3 last week at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in San Francisco is competing again this week. She was a Monday Qualifier for the event.
  • The Champions Tour hosts the Insperity Invitational in Houston beginning Friday. Bernhard Langer is the defending champion.
  • The top two seeds in Group 6 and Group 11 in the match play both lost opening-round matches Wednesday at TPC Harding Park.
  • Ian Poulter, one of the match play favorites and former champion at this event, lost to Webb Simpson 3&2. He was 4-down through eight holes at one point.