Those anticipating a head-to-head contest between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will get their wish on Wednesday, but it likely won't have the stakes that anyone involved with the inaugural Turkish Airlines World Golf Final wanted.
Both of the world's top two golfers lost in their opening-day contests in medal match play on Tuesday, leaving an uphill battle for both to avoid elimination on the tournament's second day.
Woods and McIlroy will both have to win their morning matches against Matt Kuchar and Charl Schwartzel, respectively, simply to have a shot at staving off elimination when the two battle in the afternoon.
While all eyes were on Woods and McIlroy, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood both came out victorious in their matchups as well.
Played at the PGA Sultan in Turkey, the World Golf Final is an unsanctioned match play event pitting eight of the world's best against one another. The tournament uses an unconventional match play scoring system, where it essentially boils down to one-on-one stroke play.
With all of Tuesday's exciting action wrapped up, here is a recap of everything that happened on an exciting first day.
Day 1 Standings
|Group A||Group B|
|Charl Schwartzel 1 Point||Justin Rose 1 Point|
|Matt Kuchar 1 Point||Lee Westwood 1 Point|
|Tiger Woods 0 Points||Hunter Mahan 0 Points|
|Rory McIlroy 0 Points||Webb Simpson 0 Points|
Charl Schwartzel def. Tiger Woods
After roaring back from a seemingly insurmountable deficit with birdies on the 14th, 16th and 17th holes, Woods' magical run ended with a bogey on No. 18.
That disappointment ended a day of inconsistency for the former world No. 1, who also triple-bogeyed the ninth hole after starting the day well.
For Schwartzel, he simply rode consistency all the way to victory. With a score of 68, the South African navigated the course well and never made the same mistakes his opponent made. It's likely all he'll need is one more victory to make it to the semifinals and a nice upgrade in overall winnings.
Matt Kuchar def. Rory McIlroy
Where Woods and Schwartzel put on an exhilarating show for all to see, the same cannot be said for McIlroy and Kuchar.
The world's first-ranked golfer carded a shockingly high score of 76 after a seven-over stretch from holes 15-17, which essentially cost him any chance at a victory.
In this hybrid match play format, McIlroy's struggles were magnified as each stroke counts. Like Schwartzel, Kuchar will go into Wednesday's action likely needing just one win to make a semifinals appearance guaranteed.
Considering that the 34-year-old struggled throughout the FedEx Cup, moving on over one of the world's two best players could provide some nice redemption.
Lee Westwood def. Webb Simpson
A thrilling contest throughout where both golfers kept things close, Westwood's beautiful chip-in on hole No. 17 sealed the deal for the Englishman.
Coming off a brilliant Ryder Cup run, the 39-year-old looks to be starting off a bit of a hot streak. If he can continue coming out on top at the World Golf Final, it could mean big things for Westwood going into the 2013 season.
Justin Rose def. Hunter Mahan
Things weren't as eventful for Rose, as he took advantage of a carded score of 75 from Simpson to skate to victory in his opening match.
The 32-year-old will take on Westwood on Wednesday and look to best his Ryder Cup partner in hopes of coming away with the Group B title.
Nonetheless, things are once again looking good for Rose as we head into the rest of the week.
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