Sporting a new haircut, and a new golf swing, 14 seeded Rickie Fowler dispatched Match Play Guru, Ian Poulter in the first round at the Accenture Match Play Championships early on Wednesday. Poulter made the consolation match last year against Jason Day, but has seen early exits in three of the last four years.
Poulter needed a 12 foot putt at the 17th hole to extend the match another hole, but fell to Fowler 2 & 1. Rickie Fowler got out to an early lead, but the 15th hole is where he put the pressure on the Brit with a beautiful three wood to the center of the green, and holing out the eagle putt.
Rickie Fowler went win-less in 2013, and hasn’t won since the 2012 Wells Fargo Open. He has been working with legendary instructor, Butch Harmon, but it hasn’t translated into much success. Fowler has one top 25 finish in the new wrap-around season, and has missed three consecutive cuts during the West Coast Swing.
Ian Poulter who is ranked 15th in the world, and was a #3 seed in the Ben Hogan division has struggled in the new season. He finished second in the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai back in November. He missed the cut in the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
The 25 year-old Fowler will meet red-hot Jimmy Walker in the second round. Walker blew by his first-round opponent, South African, Branden Grace 5 & 4 in first round action. Walker has won three events already in 2014, and has a sizable lead in FedEx Cup points.