Pádraig Harrington was the only Irishman still standing at the Accenture World Match Play championship as Tiger Woods broke another record at La Costa near San Diego today.
Paul McGinley went down two and one to Shingo Katayama of Japan, Darren Clarke lost four and three to Shigeki Maruyama and Vijay Singh got the better of Graeme McDowell five and four.
Harrington now meets Angel Cabrera in today’s second round.
World number one Tiger Woods, twice a winner of the title in the last three years, registered a new record margin of victory in the event when he crushed Stephen Ames 9&8 – in just two hours’ play.
It was done with a bit of feeling as well. Ames had commented after coming in as replacement for Thomas Bjorn: “Anything can happen, especially where he’s hitting the ball.”
As if to make him suffer for those words, Woods birdied the first six holes, added another on the long eighth for an outward 29 and after a half in par fours on the 10th finished the job he said: “I did all right today. I think he understands now.
“The best I have ever done I think (in his life, he meant) is 8&7. That was a little bit of fun out there. Yesterday was a great day of practice and I just wanted to build on that.
“I made a few putts and Stephen made a couple of mistakes. I am very pleased.”
Ames had diverted from the Chrysler Classic in Tucson when a space in the match play became available. He had time to get back there for the start, but that is not allowed under US Tour rules.
Woods was a joint holder of the previous record in the tournament – he beat Stephen Leaney 7&6 three years ago – while Ames was on the receiving end of the previous record too. He lost 7&6 to Mark Hensby at the same stage last year.
Bernhard Langer had not won a game at La Costa since 1999 and as the 61st seed his win over Ernie Els was the biggest upset of the day.
“I am thrilled,” said the man who captained Europe in the Ryder Cup two years ago and now wants to regain a place in the team.
“I was by far the underdog – Ernie’s won the World Match Play at Wentworth many, many times (a record six) – but I played solid and kept the pressure on.”
Several of the 17-strong European contingent were involved in marathon affairs.
David Howell, three up after three, had to go all the way to the fourth extra hole to defeat former USPGA champion Steve Elkington.
Yet he still had to wait to discover it would be American Scott Verplank rather than Ryder Cup team-mate and stablemate Lee Westwood he faced in tomorrow’s second round.
Westwood won the last two holes to stay alive and shared the next seven before he clipped a tree with his second shot to the long 26th and made a bogey six.
Their duel matched the longest in the tournament’s history and Westwood, fifth at the Nissan Open in Los Angeles on Sunday, commented: “It’s a shame, but somebody has to win and somebody has to lose.”
Colin Montgomerie and Ian Poulter were involved in extra holes as well. Montgomerie, four up after seven on Niclas Fasth, survived despite a round of 76, finally coming through at the 23rd, but Poulter went out at the 19th to defending champion David Toms when he needed two attempts to get out of a greenside bunker.
They met at the semi-final stage last year, Poulter losing that 3&2, but this did not get anywhere near the dizzy heights of that. “David played crap and I played worse,” stated the Milton Keynes golfer.
The four-strong Irish contingent was reduced to one. Padraig Harrington beat Australian Rod Pampling 4&2, but 2000 winner Darren Clarke crashed to Shigeki Maruyama, Paul McGinley went down to Shingo Katayama and Graeme McDowell found second seed Vijay Singh in almost as good form as Woods, whom he would have played but for Bjorn’s injury.
The Fijian, who has never gone beyond the second round in the event, was five under par.
Paul Broadhurst found third seed Retief Goosen too hot to handle as well in losing 5&4, but Luke Donald made progress by beating Richard Green and also through were Swedes Henrik Stenson and Carl Pettersson and Spain’s Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Stenson knocked out Paul Casey on the last, while Jimenez won by a 2&1 margin against Rory Sabbatini, the South African who won the Nissan Open and has earned over $2m (€1.7m) already this season.
Collated results in the first round of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, La Costa, Carlsbad, California (USA unless stated, seeded positions in brackets):
(9) Adam Scott (Aus) bt (56) Lucas Glover 2 and 1
(24) Stuart Appleby (Aus) lost to (41) Tom Lehman 3 and 2
(23) Davis Love bt (42) Mark Hensby (Aus) 2 and 1
(10) Kenny Perry lost to (55) Carl Pettersson (Swe) 1 hole
(22) Paul McGinley (Irl) lost to (43) Shingo Katayama (Jpn) 2 and 1
(25) Jose Maria Olazabal (Spa) bt (40) Brandt Jobe 3 and 2
(12) David Howell (Gbr) bt (53) Steve Elkington (Aus) at 22nd
(28) Bart Bryant lost to (37) John Daly 4 and 2
(7) Chris DiMarco bt (58) Mark Calcavecchia 2 and 1
(1) Tiger Woods bt (64) Stephen Ames (Can) 9 and 8
(8) David Toms bt (57) Ian Poulter (Gbr) at 19th
(5) Phil Mickelson bt (60) Charles Howell 2 holes
(11) Colin Montgomerie (Gbr) bt (54) Niclas Fasth (Swe) at 23rd
(17) Chad Campbell bt (48) Tim Herron 4 and 2
(20) Nick O’Hern (Aus) bt (45) Fred Funk 4 and 3
(21) Scott Verplank bt (44) Lee Westwood (Gbr) at 26th
(6) Jim Furyk lost to (59) Zach Johnson 1 hole
(18) Pádraig Harrington (Irl) bt (47) Rod Pampling (Aus) 4 and 2
(19) Darren Clarke (Gbr) lost to (46) Shigeki Maruyama (Jpn) 4 and 3
(26) Tim Clark (Rsa) lost to (39) Arron Oberholser at 21st
(27) Fred Couples lost to (38) Sean O’Hair at 19th
(16) Henrik Stenson (Swe) bt (49) Paul Casey (Gbr) 1 hole
(13) Michael Campbell (Nzl) lost to (52) Geoff Ogilvy (Aus) at 19th
(14) Luke Donald (Gbr) bt (51) Richard Green (Aus) 2 and 1
(32) Robert Allenby (Aus) bt (33) KJ Choi (Kor) 3 and 2
(2) Vijay Singh (Fij) bt (63) Graeme McDowell (Nir) 5 and 4
(29) Stewart Cink lost to (36) Mike Weir (Can) 4 and 3
(4) Ernie Els (Rsa) lost to (61) Bernhard Langer (Ger) 1 hole
(3) Retief Goosen (Rsa) bt (62) Paul Broadhurst (Rsa) 5 and 4
(31) Rory Sabbatini (Rsa) lost to (34) Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa) 2 and 1
(30) Justin Leonard lost to (35) Ben Crane 4 and 3
(15) Angel Cabrera (Arg) bt (50) Peter Lonard (Aus) 1 hole.