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Thursday, February 24, 2011

32 Men Go Home, 63 Women Start Up

No sooner had the field of 64 got underway at the Accenture Match Play than 32 went trunk-slamming. Among them were Tiger Woods (the only top seed to go) and Ian Poulter (the defending champion). Of course, this is the way match play works and we all expect it. The TV commentators talk about the upsets, which just means higher seeds get beaten by lower seeds, and the significance of all these will be debated endlessly.

Ironically, I found myself in agreement with Brandel Chamblee's assessment -- we didn't really see much in the way of true upsets, no matter what the numbers say. The only real upset in my opinion was Steve Stricker's 2&1 defeat (on his birthday, no less!) by 17-year-old Matteo Manassero. I might be convinced to add Dustin Johnson's loss to that list, although Mark Wilson has two wins already this year and Dustin hasn't really played too well so far. But that's about it.

Tiger's 19-hole loss to Thomas Bjorn wasn't a real surprise. Bjorn seems to be on the comeback trail, having won last year and again just a couple of weeks ago. (And let's not forget, Bjorn was known as "the Great Dane" before that debacle at Royal St. Georges a few years back.) Anthony Kim was under the weather, and lost to Nick Watney who's been playing pretty well this year. And Jim Furyk's loss to Ryan Palmer? Jim's missed 2 cuts out of 4 this year... and a T9 is his best finish in the other two.

No, there were very few upsets Wednesday.

But even as Poults tweeted his way out of Marana, the LPGA was preparing to tee it up in Singapore at the HSBC Women's Champions event. There are 63 women there -- the strongest field anywhere this year, as the Constructivist points out in this post over at Mostly Harmless -- and they're as ready to duke it out as the men are.

As usual with Asian events, the tournament is already underway as I'm writing this. Defending champion Ai Miyazato is struggling a bit -- +2 after 10 holes -- but at least she won't be leaving early like Poults because there's no cut in Singapore. Yani Tseng is already making another run -- are you really surprised to hear that? -- and she's T2, -1 after 11 holes. Chie Arimura leads after posting a 4-under 68. If her name sounds vaguely familiar, that's because she's a JLPGA member, not a regular on the LPGA. And Jiyai Shin's E after 10.

Golf Channel has coverage of both events today -- a tape-delay of the women from 11pm - 1pm, and the men from 2pm - 6pm. (Neil at the Armchair Golf Blog has a complete list of the Accenture broadcasts this week.) There's also a regular Tour event at Mayakoba this week, and that starts at 6:30pm. You can also catch live coverage of the Accenture here at PGATOUR.com's video feed.

So whether you prefer starting up or going home, there's some golf for you today. Enjoy yourself!

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