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Stricker emulates Woods — in loss

Stricker emulates Woods — in loss

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Steve Stricker took over for Tiger Woods as the No. 1 seed at the Match Play Championship, then did something only Woods had achieved in the 12-year history of the event.

He lost in the opening round.

"History is showing in this event," Stricker said. "It can happen to anybody."

Ross McGowan of England, who only got into the 64-man field because Woods isn't playing, rolled in a 30-foot par putt on the 19th hole Wednesday in Marana, Ariz., to become only the second No. 64 seed to win a match. The other, Peter O'Malley, beat Woods in the first round in 2002.

The other top four seeds made it into the second round. Lee Westwood controlled his match against fellow Englishman Chris Wood, Jim Furyk went 17 holes before beating Ryder Cup teammate Scott Verplank, and Martin Kaymer of Germany beat Chad Campbell, the first time Campbell has failed to make it out of the first round.

Ryo Ishikawa made a sensational debut at this World Golf Championships event, winning the last three holes for a 2-up victory over Michael Sim of Australia in a match of rising stars. The signature moment came at the 17th, when Ishikawa hit from a fairway bunker to inside 2 feet for birdie.

The 18-year-old from Japan advanced to the second round to face McGowan, who learned he was coming to Arizona five days ago.

LPGA starts far away

The Honda PTT LPGA Thailand tournament begins today, marking the start of the women's professional golf tour far away from the United States. The field is made up of the top 50 players from last year's money list, which includes Seminole's Brittany Lincicome and Tampa resident Kristy McPherson. Lorena Ochoa is the defending champion.

British Open back to Royal Liverpool

Royal Liverpool will host the 2014 British Open, the 12th time it will stage golf's oldest major. Woods won the tournament the last time it was played on the links course at Hoylake on the northwest English coast in 2006, the first back-to-back winner since Tom Watson in 1983.

Ponch returns

Aside from the players, there was another commitment to the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook. Erik Estrada will return as his CHiPs character Frank Poncherello from the 1970s television show. Last year, Estrada showed up on the weekend in his police uniform and wrote spectators "Sight-ations'' for not wearing proper eyewear. The event is March 18-21.

Stricker emulates Woods — in loss 02/17/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 9:11pm]
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