Accenture Match Play opening-round matches to watch

Originally Published: February 25, 2003
By Ivan Maisel | ESPN.com

CARLSBAD, Calif. -- A look at the most intriguing first-round matches at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, which begins Wednesday.

Jones bracket

(1) Tiger Woods vs. (16) Carl Pettersson -- Wed. tee time: 2 p.m. ET

Carl Pettersson
Pettersson
Tiger Woods
Woods
Yes, Pettersson finished second to Woods in San Diego two weeks ago, but he did so without ever challenging him. The Swede made All-American in both his years at North Carolina State and won once on the European Tour before qualifying for the PGA Tour at last year's Q-school.

(4) Justin Leonard vs. (13) Jose Maria Olazabal -- 12:56 p.m. ET
Not only is this a reprise of an opening-round match last year (Olazabal won, 1-up), it's impossible to watch these two without thinking of the 1999 Ryder Cup. Leonard's 45-foot putt set off the avalanche of U.S. golfers across the green. Leonard has played the better of the two this year, with three top-25s in four events.

(8) Fred Funk vs. (9) K.J. Choi -- 2:08 p.m. ET
Two guys who can manage their game, two guys with two top-five finishes this year, and two guys who better play well. One of them will meet the Woods-Pettersson winner in the second round.

Player bracket

(1) Ernie Els vs. (16) Phil Tataurangi -- 2:32 p.m. ET

Phil Tataurangi
Tataurangi
Ernie Els
Els
The hottest golfer on the planet (four firsts and a second in five starts on three continents, if Hawaii counts as a continent) plays Tataurangi, the big hitter from New Zealand. Tataurangi struggled on Sundays last year, with one notable exception being the 62 he shot to win at Las Vegas, his first PGA Tour victory. He'll need that kind of round against Els.

(2) Davis Love III vs. (15) Paul Casey -- 12:24 p.m. ET
While Love hung on to win at Pebble Beach three weeks ago, Casey was winning his second European Tour event, the ANZ Championship in Sydney. The 25-year-old Englishman won three consecutive Pac-10 titles at Arizona State (1998-2000). Love, 38, reached the semifinals of the 2000 Match Play. The winner meets the Darren Clarke-Tim Clark winner.

(3) Jim Furyk vs. (14) Len Mattiace -- 11:20 a.m. ET
Furyk has two top-10 finishes already this year and has made it to the round of 16 in his last two appearances (2000, 2002) in the Match Play. Mattiace, making his Match Play debut, tied for eighth last week at Riviera.

(6) Rich Beem vs. (11) Steve Lowery -- 11:28 a.m. ET
A "replay" of sorts of the most entertaining "match" of 2002, which took place in the final round of the International. Beem held on to beat Lowery, who holed out for an eagle and double eagle on the back nine.

Hogan bracket

(2) Sergio Garcia vs. (15) Kevin Sutherland -- 12:08 p.m. ET

Kevin Sutherland
Sutherland
Sergio Garcia
Garcia
Sutherland, the defending champion, knocked off David Duval, Furyk, David Toms and Brad Faxon on the way to winning the 2002 Match Play. Sutherland meets another big name to open the defense of his championship. However, Garcia has struggled this year, missing his last two cuts (Johnnie Walker Classic, Nissan Open). He missed only two cuts in 21 starts on the PGA Tour last year. The winner will play either Duval or Justin Rose.

(7) David Duval vs. (10) Justin Rose -- 12:16 p.m. ET
Rose emerged last year with two victories on the European Tour. The 22-year-old has three top-10 finishes in as many starts on that tour this year. Duval has picked up where he left off last season as well -- he hasn't recaptured the form responsible for 13 PGA Tour victories, including the 2001 British Open. Duval shot 73-75 on the weekend in Los Angeles last week and tied for 42nd.

Snead bracket

(4) Mike Weir vs. (13) Loren Roberts -- 1:44 p.m. ET

Loren Roberts
Roberts
Mike Weir
Weir
Weir, the PGA Tour's leading money-winner after two victories in Southern California (Hope, Nissan), has won with Sunday charges and a hot putter. Roberts has made a career as the Boss of the Moss but none of his eight career victories have come on the West Coast. The winner may meet Jerry Kelly (three top-12s this year) in the second round. Kelly opens play against Thomas Bjorn.

Ivan Maisel is a senior writer at ESPN.com. He can be reached at ivan.maisel@espn3.com.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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