Day one of Matchplay a wash-out

Thirty-two players, including at least two Europeans, were due to be knocked out of the Accenture World Match Play Championship in California today. But they have all lived to fight another day.

Thirty-two players, including at least two Europeans, were due to be knocked out of the Accenture World Match Play Championship in California today. But they have all lived to fight another day.

The start of the €5.6m event scheduled for today was postponed 24 hours because of the state of the La Costa course near San Diego.

It is the second year running that the event has had a total wash-out on one day. Last February no play was possible on the Thursday after torrential rain.

Once again, weather permitting, the second and third rounds will both be staged on Friday to make up for the lost time. The forecast is good from this morning onwards.

Last week’s Nissan Open in Los Angeles was cut to 36 holes and was eventually settled by a Monday morning play-off in which Australian Adam Scott beat American Chad Campbell.

When the players arrived in San Diego 100 miles south they found a course that more resembled a giant lake.

Conditions have improved since, but officials took a look and, with more rain predicted overnight, took the decision to call a day off for players, but not for the greenkeeping staff who must try to get the holes playable for tomorrow.

Fifteen Europeans are in the 64-man field, but two are bound to make an instant exit with Irish pair Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell clashing and Sergio Garcia taking on Alex Cejka.

Lee Westwood discovered yesterday that he will not be playing American Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman in the first round after all.

Lehman and Steve Flesch were placed joint 41st on the world rankings last week and it was thought that Flesch would take the higher position in the draw based on the number of ranking points he had earned in the last 12 months.

But now it has been decided that as Lehman leads Flesch when you go to the fifth decimal point of their ranking average he should play South Korean KJ Choi and Westwood should play left-hander Flesch.

Tiger Woods has won the event the last two years, but is not the only player seeking a hat-trick. Phil Mickelson has won on his last two starts on the US Tour.

Woods plays Nick Price tomorrow and Mickelson opens against Loren Roberts. Top seed Vijay Singh meets Japan’s Shingo Katayama, who came in when world number three Ernie Els chose not to make the trip again.

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