Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Westwood off to steady start

Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood and Martin Laird were both off to winning starts in their Accenture Match Play Championship third round matches in Tucson today.

Westwood, through to the last 16 for the first time in 12 attempts, birdied the first to lead American Nick Watney, the man who had beaten him the last two years and conqueror of Tiger Woods yesterday.

Laird was in an all-Scottish clash with Paul Lawrie and the 1999 Open champion, taken to the last hole in his first two games against Justin Rose and Ryo Ishikawa, bogeyed the first to fall behind.

In the opening two games Martin Kaymer, runner-up to Luke Donald a year ago, was one-up after three on Matt Kuchar, while Hunter Mahan struck first against fellow American Steve Stricker.

Kuchar hit his approach to the first to within two feet of the flag, but Kaymer holed from nearly 30 feet for a half in birdie threes and then birdied the long second as well.

Westwood, yet to trail all week, won the long second as well by getting down in two from just off the front, but bogeyed the short third after straying into the bunker and remained one up after six.

Laird's birdie at the second took him two-up, but Lawrie almost holed his approach to the fifth to halve his deficit, while Rory McIlroy - having missed a four-foot chance on the first - needed only a par five to take the next after Miguel Angel Jimenez came up short in three and needed three more.

Kaymer fell behind for the first time during the tournament when he bogeyed the fourth and Kuchar birdied the sixth. The German then had an eight-foot chance to take the long eighth, but three-putted it and was two down.

Best start of all came from Swede Peter Hanson. He birdied the first three holes and won them all against American Brandt Snedeker.

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