Els ousts Donald, Tiger scrapes through
Top seed Luke Donald crashed out of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on Wednesday, losing 5&4 to late entry Ernie Els, while Tiger Woods scraped through into the second round.
Once again the elite World Golf Championships event lived up to its reputation for wild unpredictability and there were 15 upsets from the 32 matches at Dove Mountain's Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Marana, Arizona.
Donald won last year's title with an imperious display, never trailing in any of his six matches, but he struggled against South African Els on a sun-splashed day in the Arizona desert where the heavily contoured greens ran fast and firm.
Triple major winner Els made the most of an error-prone performance by the British world No 1 and sealed victory when he sank a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-four 14th.
"I'm not sure where to start," a subdued Donald, who became only the third top seed to lose in the event's opening round, told reporters. "I just didn't play very well. It's disappointing.
"I gave away too many holes and made too many mistakes. You can't do that in match play against anyone, let alone Ernie."
The lowest-ranked player in the elite field of 64, former world No 1 Els was gifted a spot at Dove Mountain when Phil Mickelson withdrew to spend time with his family.
"There's always hype when the No 1 player is playing the No 64 seed," said Els. "But Luke and I took it for what it was.
"I think he didn't want to play me and I sure as hell didn't want to play him in the first round, but that's the way it worked out."
While three-times winner Woods battled through one up against Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Charl Schwartzel and Bae Sang-moon won their opening matches in comfort.
Masters champion Schwartzel of South Africa eased past big-hitting American Gary Woodland 4&2 and South Korean Bae upset Britain's Ian Poulter, the 2010 champion, 4&3.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy survived a late wobble to beat South African George Coetzee two up, Lee Westwood beat Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts 3&1 and German Martin Kaymer advanced with a 4&2 win over Australian left-hander Greg Chalmers.
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Woods, winner of this event in 2003, 2004 and 2008, was two down to Fernandez-Castano after two holes but finally ended a wildly fluctuating encounter with an eight-foot par putt at the 18th.
"We both made our share of mistakes, there's no doubt about that, but somehow I was able to move on," Woods said.
Earlier, South Korean Yang Yong-eun beat Graeme McDowell 2&1 in a match of high quality and Dustin Johnsonscraped past fellow American Jim Furyk after 20 holes.
Yang, who became the first Asian male to win a major with his victory at the 2009 PGA Championship, produced sizzling form with seven birdies.
"I ran into a man who played extremely well," a frustrated McDowell said. "I felt like I had to follow him all day long, and I did most of the day, but he didn't put a foot wrong."
Soon after Yang's win, Japan's Ryo Ishikawa came from three down after 13 holes to beat American Bill Haas one up before Paul Lawrie edged fellow Briton Justin Rose by the same margin.
Ishikawa birdied 14, 15 and 17 before wrapping up victory on the 18th green against an in-form opponent who won the PGA Tour's Northern Trust Open on Sunday in a playoff.
"Through the first 13 holes, it was really tough and I wasn't playing that well," Ishikawa said through an interpreter. "But the last five holes, I was able to compete with the opponent. This course is suited for me."
In other matches, Hunter Mahan battled past fellow American Zach Johnson after 19 holes and Italian Matteo Manassero never trailed on his way to a 3&2 win over American Webb Simpson.
BOBBY JONES BRACKET
Peter Hanson (Sweden) beat Jason Dufner 2&1
Brandt Snedeker beat Retief Goosen (South Africa) 21st hole
Ernie Els (South Africa) beat Luke Donald (Britain) 5&4
Kyle Stanley beat KJ Choi (South Korea) 2&1
Mark Wilson beat Bo Van Pelt 3&2
Robert Rock (Britain) beat Adam Scott (Australia) 1up
Dustin Johnson beat Jim Furyk 20th hole
Francesco Molinari (Italy) beat Thomas Bjorn (Denmark) 20th hole
BEN HOGAN BRACKET
David Toms beat Rickie Fowler 1up
Martin Kaymer (Germany) beat Greg Chalmers (Australia) 4&2
Matt Kuchar beat Jonathan Byrd 1up
Bubba Watson beat Ben Crane 3&2
Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa) beat Aaron Baddeley (Australia) 2&1
Steve Stricker beat Kevin Na 2&1
Yang Yong-eun (South Korea) beat Graeme McDowell (Britain) 2&1
Hunter Mahan beat Zach Johnson 19th hole
SAN SNEAD BRACKET
Lee Westwood (Britain) beat Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium) 3&1
Robert Karlsson (Sweden) beat Fredrik Jacobson (Sweden) 6&5
Tiger Woods beat Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spain) 1up
Nick Watney beat Darren Clarke (Britain) 5&4
Martin Laird (Britain) beat Alvaro Quiros (Spain) 1up
Matteo Manassero (Italy) beat Webb Simpson 3&2
Ryo Ishikawa (Japan) beat Bill Haas 1up
Paul Lawrie (Britain) beat Justin Rose (Britain) 1up
GARY PLAYER BRACKET
Rory McIlroy (Britain) beat George Coetzee (South Africa) 2up
Anders Hansen (Denmark) beat Kim Kyung-tae (South Korea) 5&3
Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spain) beat Sergio Garcia (Spain) 2&1
Keegan Bradley beat Geoff Ogilvy (Australia) 4&3
Jason Day (Australia) beat Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spain) 19th hole
John Senden (Australia) beat Simon Dyson (Britain) 4&3
Charl Schwartzel (South Africa) beat Gary Woodland 4&2
Bae Sang-moon (South Korea) beat Ian Poulter (Britain) 4&3