Good Thursday afternoon from Classic Swing! We’re having exceptionally beautiful and warm weather this week. If you live here or are just visiting, get out and enjoy a round of golf (or a golf lesson). There are plenty of courses to choose from; as far as lessons go, Classic Swing Golf School is the one to choose. More on that later, golf fans this week are keeping their eyes on the Accenture Match Play Competition.
Read what By Doug Ferguson wrote after day 2:
MARANA, Ariz. (AP) The good Tiger Woods knocked in a 50-foot birdie putt and drove onto the par-4 15th green, both times to erase a deficit. The bad Tiger Woods took three trips into the desert to lose the hole, once having to hit a shot left-handed.
After all these adventures, Woods had no trouble picking the most important shot he had Wednesday in the Match Play Championship.
"Probably the putt on 18," he said.
It was an 8-foot putt up the hill. It gave him a par, and a hard-earned win over Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano in the opening round. And it allowed him to return Thursday to Dove Mountain, the only objective at this wild tournament.
Luke Donald won’t have that privilege.
For the first time since he first qualified for this World Golf Championship in 2005, the world’s No. 1 player was beaten in the first round. There is no such thing as an upset, not even for the No. 1 seed, given the 18-hole match and the quality of players.
Only a year ago, Donald turned in the most dominant performance ever in the Match Play Championship. He never trailed the entire week, and none of his matches ever reached the 18th hole. Turns out Donald won’t be playing the 18th hole this week, either.
Everyone feels pressure at some point. Such is the nature of match play.
Rory McIlroy was feeling it right after Donald left the course. The U.S. Open champion seized control by winning four straight holes, and he was 3 up with three holes to play. Then came a bogey on the 16th, and the 17th. Suddenly, he was 1 up and playing the 18th hole against George Coetzee, and he popped up his tee shot that made par a challenge. Luckily for McIlroy, his opponent failed to take advantage. Coetzee went 60 feet by the pin on his approach and three-putted for bogey. So McIlroy escaped, and with Donald out of the way, the 22-year-old from Northern Ireland had a clear path to No. 1.
So does Lee Westwood, who played a tidy round in beating Nicolas Colsaerts.
McIlroy and Westwood could replace Donald atop the world ranking by winning the Match Play Championship.
Woods was 1 down until he drove the 15th green for a two-putt birdie, won the 16th with a par to go 1 up, and got up-and-down from a bunker after he missed the green from the 18th fairway. "We both made our share of mistakes, there’s no doubt about that," said Woods. "But somehow, I was able to move on."
Woods now plays Nick Watney, who had no trouble beating British Open champion Darren Clarke.
McIlroy, the highest seed remaining, faces Anders Hansen, while Westwood plays Robert Karlsson and No. 4 seed Martin Kaymer faces David Toms, who birdied the last hole to secure a win over Rickie Fowler.
Perhaps the most intriguing match is Kyle Stanley and Brandt Snedeker, who have been in a match play situation before. It was only a month ago when Stanley made triple bogey on the last hole at Torrey Pines, then lost in a playoff to Snedeker. Stanley went on to win the next week in Phoenix.
There will be three All-American matches, three all-European matches and one all-Australian match. That would be John Senden against Day, and the only downer for the boys Down Under is that they’re the only Australians left at Dove Mountain.
Classic Swing Golf School has been voted one of the Top Golf Schools in America by Golf Magazine. The entire staff is dedicated to helping each student achieve his/her golf goals while exceeding their expectations. Conveniently located in Myrtle Beach, at Legends Resort, Classic Swing strives to provide the highest quality instruction along with the most fun and relaxing environment available. For more tips and information on lessons, please visit www.classicswing.com.