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Woods has quick Day 1 at Match Play

Tiger Woods won the first nine holes, seven with birdies, and closed out Stephen Ames as early as mathematically possible, 9 and 8 in the first round of the Match Play Championship.

"It's been a while since I played one like that," Woods said with a smile.

He didn't have to look far for motivation.

Monday, Ames was asked if he would take a carefree attitude into the match. He shook his head.

"Anything can happen," Ames said, breaking into a smile. "Especially where he's hitting the ball."

Afterward, Woods was asked if he had seen what Ames said.


Did it motivate him?


Asked if he cared to elaborate, Woods smiled.


His play spoke volumes, from an approach to 5 feet for a birdie to an 18-foot birdie on the second hole that hung on the lip for a few seconds before falling.

The other top seeds, Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen, had no problem, and Phil Mickelson (No. 5) had to go 18 holes before getting rid of Charles Howell.

But it was particularly tough for Scott Verplank, who matched the tournament record by going 26 holes before beating Lee Westwood.

In all, seven matches went extra holes, breaking by one the record set in the first round two years ago.

Colin Montgomerie was 4 up through eight on Niclas Fasth before he started losing holes. Montgomerie tied it at No. 16 with a par then won it with a par on the 23rd hole. Had it been stroke play, Montgomerie would have shot 77. Paul Casey, meanwhile, shot 4-under 68 and is on his way home, a 1-up loser to Henrik Stenson.

Ernie Els, who lost on the 18th hole to Bernhard Langer, was among three in the top 10 who lost. Zach Johnson birdied the last two holes for a 1-up victory over sixth-seeded Jim Furyk, and Carl Pettersson beat 10th-seeded Kenny Perry, 1 up.