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Westwood wins to open starry match play

CASARES, Spain — Lee Westwood produced a blitz of birdies to defeat Anders Hansen 6 and 5 Thursday on the opening day of the World Match Play Championship, sending a message to two players trying to supplant him at No. 1.

Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer, who could move to the top of the world rankings by winning the tournament, also had opening-round wins at the Finca Cortesin course.

No. 2 Donald defeated Ryan Moore 4 and 3, and No. 3 Kaymer edged Y.E. Yang 2 and 1. Masters champion Charl Schwartzel was routed 6 and 5 by Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Westwood didn't compete in last week's Players Championship, considered by some as the fifth major. He wanted to stay fresh not only for the World Match Play but also a string of tournaments this summer.

"I feel fresh, feel good coming into this week, which is tough and demanding," said Westwood, who credits his stamina and strength to a strict fitness regime he began four years ago. "I had such a busy time in the first part of the year, I was going to need a break at some stage to just sit down and do nothing and recharge."

Westwood plays Aaron Baddeley today in his second group match. Two players from each of eight three-man groups make the last 16.

In other matches, No. 5-ranked Graeme McDowell, last year's U.S. Open champion, defeated British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen 3 and 1, and Rory McIlroy beat Retief Goosen by a hole.

PGA: David Toms and Chez Reavie shot 8-under 62, matching the tour's lowest 18-hole score this season, to share the first-round lead at the Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas. The duo, who also shot the lowest first-round score on the tour this year, matched a score shot five other times this year. Rickie Fowler shot 63, missing a chance to tie the tournament record of 61 after his approach on his final hole, the 407-yard No. 9, hit the green and spun back into the water. He closed with double-bogey 6 in a round that included an eagle, eight birdies and a three-putt bogey from 61/2 feet at the par-3 16th. Stewart Cink was in a group of five at 64, and three were tied at 65.

LPGA: Top seed Na Yeon Choi won 3 and 2 over Catriona Matthew to advance to the second round of the Sybase Match Play Championship at Gladstone, N.J. No. 3 seed Cristie Kerr beat Amanda Blumenherst 3 and 2, and defending champion Sun Young Yoo had to go 21 holes to beat Grace Park. In the day's biggest upset, No. 2 seed Jiyai Shin lost to No. 33 Meena Lee 2-up. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome, seeded 15th, lost 5 and 3 to No. 46 Wendy Ward. "Hit the ball ok," Lincicome posted on her Twitter account. "Couldn't putt to save my life!!!"

Westwood wins to open starry match play 05/19/11 [Last modified: Thursday, May 19, 2011 11:15pm]
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