WGC Championship gets under way in California

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/g/golfgeneric.jpg' class='caption'> Tiger Woods won his 13th consecutive match and all but one of the top 10 seeds advanced as the WGC Accenture Championship on Thursday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:50 IST
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Carlsbad, California:

Tiger Woods won his 13th consecutive match and all but one of the top 10 seeds advanced as the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship finally got under way on Thursday. Fiji's top seed Vijay Singh, who has never advanced beyond the second round, and third seed Phil Mickelson both eased into the second round as well. Fifth seed Mike Weir of Canada was the only top 10 casualty as he lost on the 18th hole to American Kirk Triplett. After days of lashing rain that pushed back the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at La Costa Resort and Spa by 24 hours, play began under more typical brilliant southern California sunshine on Thursday. Head start It was certainly a bright start for Britain's Graeme McDowell. He birdied the final hole to claim a surprise one hole win over compatriot and close neighbour Darren Clarke, who beat twice champion Tiger Woods to lift the crown in 2000. McDowell's birdie at the last clinched victory for the 53rd seed and ended the 12th-seeded Clarke's chances of a second win. The sixth seed Sergio Garcia of Spain went four up against Alex Cejka of Germany on the eighth hole. That early advantage gave him the chance to go on and win 4 and 2. World number one Vijay Singh had few problems in his opening match against Japan's Shingo Katayama, who was playing only because Ernie Els had pulled out. The Fijian won 4 and 3. Howell advances Another Briton, David Howell, crushed Japan's Shigeki Maruyama 6 and 5 to reach the second round for the second time in four attempts. South Africa's Retief Goosen went one up after a birdie putt on the fifth hole against Stephen Leaney. The U.S. Open champion then held on to secure a place in round two. Disappointment for one Australian, but two more made it through, although Stuart Appleby needed an extra hole to see off the challenge of Sweden's Joakim Haeggman. Adam Scott then joined his compatriot in the next round when a birdie on the 18th gave him a victory over South Africa's Trevor Immelman by the margin of two holes. Phil Mickelson stormed into a four-hole lead at one point against fellow American Loren Roberts. The U.S. Masters champion and third seed went on to win 3 and 1. Kirk Triplett caused one of the upsets of the day when the American beat the former Masters champion and fifth seed Mike Weir by one hole following a birdie at the last. The Canadian was the only seed in the top ten to make a first round exit. Unpredictable Daly John Daly was as unpredictable as ever in his match against Justin Leonard. The match between former British Open champions saw Daly triumph on the final hole. Tiger Woods, who is trying to return to the top of the world rankings this week, started the defence of his title in fine fashion. He despatched Nick Price of Zimbabwe 4 and 3. One of the shots of the day was provided by Ireland's Padraig Harrington. The seventh seed was all square with American Jeff Maggert, but his third shot to the 18th set up a birdie and a one-hole victory. Finally, Spain's 13th seed, Miguel Angel Jimenez, closed out a 3 and 2 win over Rod Pampling Australia with a birdie on the 16th. (AP)

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