Charles Howell III said he kept waiting for the other shoe to drop in his first round win over Tiger Woods at the Accenture Match Play Championships at The Dove Mountain Resort late Thursday evening. Howell has been beaten so many times by the worlds number two golfer, going all the way back to 1996, and the Amateur Championships. Like a whipped dog, he knew it was going to happen again, he just didn’t know when. When was Tiger going to hole out from the bunker, or make that signature 30 foot putt to snatch victory away again.
It never happened. In fact, it was Charles Howell III who provided the drama by making a 25 foot putt on the par three 16th hole to steal the show. It was Howell who made the key putt that drove the steak in Tigers heart, and sent him home once again after the first round. Woods was two under par through 17 holes, but could not make the big shot. Howell won the match 2 & 1 after Woods decided to finish the 18th hole in almost total darkness.
Play at The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain Golf Course was scheduled to start at 8:30 on Thursday to complete the first round, but was delayed for snow removal from the winter storm that went through the area on Wednesday afternoon halting play. Ten groups, including all of the number one seeds had not begun play until Thursday. When play was halted Thursday evening there were still two groups on the course that will finish early Friday morning.
The Rickie Fowler, Carl Pettersson match was halted with one hole to play. Pettersson is up one with the 18th hole to play. Fowler was down three at the thirteenth hole, but looked to be upset when Pettersson would not concede a putt, and put on a run to make the match close. Gonzalo FDEZ Costano is all square with Francisco Molanari through 15 holes. These matches will be completed on Friday morning before the second round gets underway.
The world’s number one golfer, Rory McIlroy, was sent packing by Junior Golf partner, Shane Lowry. McIlroy didn’t play bad, he just didn’t play good enough. Lowry dispatched McIlroy in a match where he was in control until the 11th hole. Lowry chipped in on the 11th and 12th holes, and pounded a 5 wood at the par five 13th hole that rolled up to gimme distance. McIlroy was pin high in the trap, and made a good run at it. Close, but Lowry won the hole.
Rory McIlroy still doesn’t look 100% comfortable with his new Nike Golf Clubs. He was pounding the driver, but his iron game looked to be suffering from either familiarity with the clubs, or rust on the young Ulsterman’s game. Either way, he is on his way to Florida to defend his title at the Honda Classic next weekend. It will get back to normal, and we should be able to get a better read on his progress.
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