McIlroy eases to WGC Match Play round one win

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Comfortable wins for McIlroy and Spieth in round one of the new WCG Match Play format

World Number One Rory eased through his round one match at the  WGC-Cadillac Match Play with a convincing 5&4 victory over Jason Dufner on day one at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

It was a similar story for World Number Two Jordan Spieth who overcame Finland’s Mikko Ilonen with a 4&2 win.

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Defending champion Jason Day is up against it to reach the knock out stage after suffering a 4&3 defeat to in-form American Charley Hoffman.

McIlroy didn’t need to bring his best golf to the first of his three round one matches in the newly formatted event, with a single birdie and 13 pars good enough to secure a stress free victory.

Englishman Lee Westwood was another high profile European victor with a one up win over Matt Every, while Francesco Molinari pulled off a brilliant 5&4 win over World Number Nine Adam Scott.

Sergio Garcia and Jamie Donaldson emerged one up winners in their respective European battles with Tommy Fleetwood and Bernd Weisberger, while Louis Oosthuizen was in great form to take down Keegan Bradley 6&5.

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There was disappointment for English Ryder Cup stars Ian Poulter and Justin Rose who both lost 3&2 to Webb Simpson and Marc Leishman, but Danny Willet and Marc Warren produced strong debut performances by defeating Ryan Moore and JB Holmes.

India’s Anirban Lahiri, who six months ago was playing at The European Tour Qualifying School, continued his meteoric rise with a 4&2 win over American Ryan Palmer.
In match play, you just need to beat the person that’s in front of you and I did that" McIlroy insists it’s important to try and win every match in the preliminary stages.

“It’s good to win that first match,” he said.

“Luckily I’ve done that and the mindset going into tomorrow is I have to win, you have to win every match.  

“There’s no point in thinking you can’t win matches and progress here.  

“I need to hole a few more putts. Jason didn’t have his best stuff, obviously, so I just tried to put him under pressure from the start, tried to hit fairways, hit greens, and try and make him force a little bit. 

“In match play, you just need to beat the person that’s in front of you and I did that today.”

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Westwood admitted he felt quite fortunate to win his tussle with Every.

“I played quite nicely but it was a real struggle out there,” he said.

“I scrambled well. We both did.

“We didn’t see a lot of each other on the front nine as we were criss-crossing the fairways, but I did birdie three out of the last four holes to win and that’s the reason I managed to sneak it in the end. 

“It’s probably a game that Matt thinks he should have won and I feel very fortunate to win.”

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