Match Play: Tiger Woods loses in first round to Charles Howell III
Tiger Woods lost to Charles Howell for, apparently, the first time in their careers on Thursday.
|Tiger Woods goes down to Charles Howell III. (Getty Images)|
Charles Howell told me he's NEVER beaten Tiger in all their casual days at Isleworth. I asked how many rds that is. He said "Enough"— Kelly Tilghman (@KellyTilghmanGC) February 21, 2013
In a scintillating match that featured exactly zero bogeys, Howell put his game on grind and never let Woods have the lead.
Birdies on two of his last three holes sealed the deal for Howell, who pulled off the back half of something that had only been done one time at this event -- the top two overall seeds falling in the first round (Rory McIlroy earlier lost to Shane Lowry).
Only year that both 1st and 2nd overall seeds lost in 1st round of this event was in 2002 (Tiger & Phil). #WGCMatchPlay— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) February 22, 2013
After the match Woods told the Golf Channel:
I didn't really miss a shot today.
Neither did Howell.
It was an intriguing match, too. Howell conceded to Woods a bevy of 3- and 4-foot putts that made the announcers wonder out loud what he was doing.
Apparently he had a plan. After the match, he paid his respects to Woods:
I knew I could play with nothing to lose today. He's Tiger Woods and I'm just lucky to hang in there.
Howell will face the winner of the Francesco Molinari-Gonzalo Fdez-Castano match, which was all square thru 15 holes.
Woods will play again next week at the Honda Classic.
Here's a hole-by-hole recap of their match:
No. 1 -- Woods missed a 10-foot birdie putt that would have won the hole. Even
No. 2 -- Woods hit his tee shot in the desert and Howell hit a 20-foot birdie to win the hole. Howell 1 up
No. 3 - Both missed tricky birdie putts on the par-3. Howell 1 up
No. 4 -- Woods burned a birdie putt on the left edge, both made par. Howell 1 up
No. 5 -- Tiger made his first birdie of the day (from 12 feet) to square things up. Even
No. 6 -- Woods lagged his birdie for a nice par and Howell knocked his in as well. Even
No. 7 -- Woods hit the longest drive of anyone all day at this hole. Howell conceded a 3 1/2-footer that the announcers went crazy about. Even
No. 8 -- Tiger nearly tossed his fairway wood after an errant second shot. Howell buried a 20-footer for the win. Howell 1 up
No. 9 -- Howell slipped in a slick 5-footer to remain one up. Howell 1 up
No. 10 -- Tiger lipped out a 10-footer to win the hole. Howell 1 up
No. 11 -- Woods narrowly missed chipping in for the win, then missed an 8-footer that also would have won it. Howell 1 up
No. 12 -- Howell barely missed a breaking 15-footer to the right. Howell 1 up
No. 13 -- Woods hit a crazy-good 5-wood to the fringe on this par-5 then rolled his eagle putt 4 feet past. Howell missed his birdie, however, and Tiger rolled his in to knot it up. Even
No. 14 -- Howell missed a very makeable 5-footer to win the hole. Even
No. 15 -- Howell hit his second shot to three inches for the tap-in win. Howell 1 up
No. 16 -- Howell nailed a 20-footer to win his second consecutive hole. Howell 2 up
No. 17 -- Howell two-putted from 25 feet for the win. Howell wins 2 and 1
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