Match previews: First round, Wednesday & Thursday

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Top overall seed Rory McIlroy faces Shane Lowry in the opening round.
February 19, 2013
Mike McAllister,

MARANA, Ariz. -- Here's a look at each of the 32 first-round matches on Wednesday and Thursday at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship (all times are Wednesday's local tee times).

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MATCH 1, 7:25 a.m.
SERGIO GARCIA, Spain vs. THONGCHAI JAIDEE, Thailand
Match Records: Garcia, 12-11; Jaidee, 3-1
Quick Look: Garcia advanced to the semifinals two years ago but has lost in the first round in four of his last eight Match Play appearances. Jaidee's making just his second start here but reached the quarterfinals in 2010.


MATCH 2, 7:35 a.m.
MATT KUCHAR, USA vs. HIROYUKI FUJITA, Japan
Match Records: Kuchar, 9-3; Fujita, 0-1
Quick Look: Kuchar has never lost a first-round match in three previous starts. He's lost to the eventual champion the last two years. Fujita lost to Robert Karlsson last year.

MATCH 3, 7:45 a.m.
IAN POULTER, England vs. STEPHEN GALLACHER, Scotland
Match Records: Poulter, 18-9; Gallacher, 0-0
Quick Look: Poulter has failed to get out of the first round the last two years after winning here in 2010. Gallacher already has a win under his belt this year on the European Tour.

MATCH 4, 7:55 a.m.
BO VAN PELT, USA vs. JOHN SENDEN, Australia
Match Records: Van Pelt, 1-2; Senden, 2-2
Quick Look: Not much Match Play experience on either side from these two veterans, although Senden did advance to the third round last year.

MATCH 5, 8:05 a.m.
CHARL SCHWARTZEL, South Africa vs. RUSSELL HENLEY, USA
Match Records: Schwartzel, 5-4; Henley, 0-0
Quick Look: Schwartzel has won all four of his previous first-round matches. Henley is the only player in the field making his World Golf Championships debut.

MATCH 6, 8:15 a.m.
ZACH JOHNSON, USA vs. JASON DAY, Australia
Match Records: Johnson, 7-8; Day, 3-2
Quick Look: Johnson will look to snap a two-year streak of first-round losses. Since getting to the semifinals in 2006, his record is just 2-6. Day has won both of his previous first-round matches.

MATCH 7, 8:25 a.m.
JASON DUFNER, USA vs. RICHARD STERNE, South Africa
Match Records: Dufner, 0-1; Sterne, 0-2
Quick Look: Sterne, who won the Joburg Open this year on the European Tour, is making his first Match Play start since 2009. Dufner showed some match play toughness last year at the Ryder Cup.

MATCH 8, 8:35 a.m.
HUNTER MAHAN, USA vs. MATTEO MANASSERO, Italy
Match Records: Mahan, 10-4; Manassero, 3-2
Quick Look: Only one player has claimed back-to-back Match Play titles (Tiger Woods, 2003-04) and Mahan gets a tough foe as he starts his defense. Manassero has knocked out Steve Stricker, Charl Schwartzel and Webb Simpson the last two years.

MATCH 9, 8:45 a.m.
JUSTIN ROSE, England vs. K.J. CHOI, Korea
Match Records: Rose, 5-7; Choi, 6-9
Quick Look: Rose is just 1-3 in his last four first-round matches. The last time Choi played an Englishman in the first round, he lost to Oliver Wilson in 2009.

MATCH 10, 8:55 a.m.
BILL HAAS, USA vs. NICOLAS COLSAERTS, Belgium
Match Records: Haas, 0-2; Colsaerts, 0-1
Quick Look: Haas played well last week in his defense at the Northern Trust Open. Colsaerts, one of the longest players off the tee, will look to use that advantage.

MATCH 11, 9:05 a.m.
ADAM SCOTT, Australia vs. TIM CLARK, South Africa
Match Records: Scott, 14-11; Clark 5-7
Quick Look: These two have played together at the Presidents Cup but never faced each other here. Clark has reached the third round in his last two starts here (2009-10); Scott has only gotten out of the first round twice in his last six attempts.

MATCH 12, 9:15 a.m.
JAMIE DONALDSON, Wales vs. THORBJORN OLESEN, Denmark
Match Records: Donaldson, 0-0; Olesen, 0-0
Quick Look: A couple of Match Play rookies, with Donaldson having the momentum edge after winning this year in Abu Dhabi.

MATCH 13, 9:25 a.m.
BUBBA WATSON, USA vs. CHRIS WOOD, England
Match Records: Watson, 5-3; Wood, 0-1
Quick Look: Watson reached the semifinals in 2011 before losing to Martin Kaymer. Wood won the Qatar Masters this year, his first victory on the European Tour.

MATCH 14, 9:35 a.m.
JIM FURYK, USA vs. RYAN MOORE, USA
Match Records: Furyk, 10-12; Moore, 3-2
Quick Look: Furyk has lost in the first round in six of his 12 career appearances, including the last two. Moore advanced to the quarterfinals in his last start here in 2011.

MATCH 15, 9:45 a.m.
LEE WESTWOOD, England vs. RAFAEL CABRERA-BELLO, Spain
Match Records: Westwood, 11-13; Cabrera-Bello, 0-1
Quick Look: Westwood failed to advance past the second round in his first 11 starts here but reached the semifinals last year; he hasn't lost a first-round match since 2007.

MATCH 16, 9:55 a.m.
MARTIN KAYMER, Germany vs. GEORGE COETZEE, South Africa
Match Records: Kaymer, 9-5; Coetzee 0-1
Quick Look: Kaymer has won his last four first-round matches, including in 2011 when he reached the finals before losing to Luke Donald. Coetzee's only match was a loss to Rory McIlroy last year.

MATCH 17, 10:05 a.m.
KEEGAN BRADLEY, USA vs. MARCUS FRASER, Australia
Match Records: Bradley, 1-1; Fraser, 0-0
Quick Look: Bradley will be looking for his second WGC win, having won the Bridgestone Invitational last year. Fraser is making his sixth WGC start but first in this event.

MATCH 18, 10:15 a.m.
ERNIE ELS, South Africa vs. FREDRIK JACOBSON, Sweden
Match Records: Els, 12-13; Jacobson, 2-3
Quick Look: Els lost four consecutive first-round matches between 2003-08, and hasn't lost an opening match since then. Jacobson comes off a strong performance at the Northern Trust Open.

MATCH 19, 10:25 a.m.
STEVE STRICKER, USA vs. HENRIK STENSON, Sweden
Match Records: Stricker, 12-9; Stenson, 12-5
Quick Look: A matchup of two past Match Play champs. Stricker, the 2001 champ, is 5-7 since his title. Stenson, the 2007 champ, hasn't gotten out of the first round in his last three starts.

MATCH 20, 10:35 a.m.
NICK WATNEY, USA vs. DAVID TOMS, USA
Match Records: Watney, 6-3; Toms, 24-10
Quick Look: In 11 starts, Toms has lost just one opening-round match, in 2010 to Sergio Garcia. Watney has reached the third round in each of his first three starts.

MATCH 21, 10:45 a.m.
DUSTIN JOHNSON, USA vs. ALEXANDER NOREN, Sweden
Match Records: Johnson, 2-4; Noren, 0-1
Quick Look: After three first-round exits, Johnson finally broke through last year and reached the third round. Noren's only appearance came in 2010 when he lost to Geoff Ogilvy.

MATCH 22, 10:55 a.m.
GRAEME McDOWELL, N. Ireland vs. PADRAIG HARRINGTON, Ireland
Match Records: McDowell, 3-6; Harrington, 10-12
Quick Look: Harrington, who has never faced a fellow pro from the Emerald Isle in this event, has lost his last three first-round matches. McDowell has lost four of his six first-round matches.

MATCH 23, 11:05 a.m.
WEBB SIMPSON, USA vs. DAVID LYNN, England
Match Records: Simpson, 0-1; Lynn, 0-0
Quick Look: Simpson was upset by Matteo Manassero last year and is making just his third WGC start. Lynn is making his first WGC start in the U.S.

MATCH 24, 11:15 a.m.
PETER HANSON, Sweden vs. THOMAS BJORN, Denmark
Match Records: Hanson, 5-5; Bjorn, 5-6
Quick Look: Hanson beat Jason Dufner, Ernie Els and Brandt Snedeker in reaching the quarterfinals last year. Bjorn has won just two of his last six first-round matches. Of course, one of those was against Tiger Woods in 2011.

MATCH 25, 11:25 a.m.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN, South Africa vs. RICHIE RAMSAY, Scotland
Match Records: Oosthuizen, 1-3; Ramsay, 0-0
Quick Look: Oosthuizen already has one win this year on the European Tour. Ramsay has played the HSBC Champions twice but is making his first WGC start in the United States.

MATCH 26, 11:35 a.m.
BRANDEN GRACE, South Africa vs. ROBERT GARRIGUS, USA
Match Records: Grace, 0-0; Garrigus, 0-0.
Quick Look: A couple of Match Play rookies with a lot of firepower. Grace won four times on the European Tour last year, and Garrigus has the kind of power game that could be tough to beat on any given day.

MATCH 27, 11:45 a.m.
LUKE DONALD, England vs. MARCEL SIEM, Germany
Match Records: Donald, 16-7; Siem, 0-0
Quick Look: After winning the Match Play in 2011, Donald lost to Ernie Els in the first round last year -- the first time in eight starts that Donald had lost his opening match.

MATCH 28, 11:55 a.m.
PAUL LAWRIE, Scotland vs. SCOTT PIERCY, USA
Match Records: Lawrie, 6-5; Piercy, 0-0
Quick Look: Lawrie went nine years between Match Play appearances until playing last year as he reached the third round. Piercy finished T2 at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions last year.

MATCH 29, 12:05 p.m.
RORY McILORY, N. Ireland vs. SHANE LOWRY, Ireland
Match Records: McIlroy, 10-4; Lowry, 0-0
Quick Look: Lowry will look to become the fourth No. 64 seed to knock off the top overall seed in this event. It happened last year when Ernie Els defeated Luke Donald.

MATCH 30, 12:15 p.m.
RICKIE FOWLER, USA vs. CARL PETTERSSON, Sweden
Match Records: Fowler, 2-2; Pettersson, 1-3
Quick Look: Fowler beat another Swede, Peter Hanson, in the opening round two years ago. Pettersson has never posted a top-10 finish in 13 WGC starts.

MATCH 31, 12:25 p.m.
TIGER WOODS, USA vs. CHARLES HOWELL III, USA
Match Records: Woods, 33-9; Howell 4-7
Quick Look: Perhaps you heard that these two once dueled in the 1996 U.S. Amateur? Woods has the record for most Play wins but has been knocked off twice in the first round (by Peter O'Malley in 2002 and Thomas Bjorn in 2011).

MATCH 32, 12:35 p.m.
GONZALO FERNANDEZ-CASTANO, Spain vs. FRANCESCO MOLINARI, Italy
Match Records: Fernandez-Castano, 0-1; Molinari, 1-3
Quick Look: Fernandez-Castano pushed Tiger Woods to 18 holes before losing in the first round last year. Molinari broke through last year with his first first-round win over Thomas Bjorn.
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