|Few Upsets on Day-1, Top-Seeded Advance|
|by Martin Olivera|
Only eight of 30 completed matches were won by underdogs in
the rain-dampened first day at La Costa. Two matches were
suspended due to a pooring rain which made the course
unplayable. Woods and Duval both won their respective matches,
and advance to the second round.
Last year five top-10 seeded were sent home packing after the first round. In contrast, only Mickelson, Singh and Price lost today (Montgomerie is winning his suspended match against Paulson). Mayfair holed a spectacular bunker shot for eagle on the 20th hole to edge past Mickelson in an exciting match.
Woods took care of Michael Campbell 5&4. The Newzealander was never able to be on top. Duval, on the other hand, capitalized on too may unforced errors by Angel Cabrera of Argentina to win 4&3.
"The par fives killed me", said Cabrera, who bogeyed the par-5's #2 and #9 after being around the green in two shots on both occasions. He also lost the par-5 #12, and made bogeys on #5, #7, #10, #11 and #14. The bogey on #9 took the wind off his sails, as the Argentine nicknamed "Pato" (Duck) was even in the match at that point. Duval put the match away with a 20-foot par-saving putt on #15.
Of the 39 Americans who started today, 11 were supposed to lose and 11 to win, as there were 11 matches featuring and American against an American. Eighteen Americans remain in the field of 32 players who got to the second round. Another two may also make it if they turn their suspended matches around: Dennis Paulson is 1-down with one to go against Colin Montgomerie, and Glenn Day is also 1-down with 2 to go against Thomas Bjorn of Denmark.
Last year's top-4 finishers all lost in their first round. Defending champion Jeff Maggert was defeated by Bob Tway 6&5, runner-up Andrew Magee lost to Tom Lehman 5&4, third-place finisher Steve Pate couldn't pass through Bob Estes who won 1-Up, and fourth place finisher John Huston also lost 1-Up, to Japan's pride Shigeki Maruyama.
Last year 3&2 was the most popular score in the first round. This year, perhaps due to the strong wind and heavy ground, the matches were more even. Eleven matches finished at 2&1, and nine at 1-Up. Also, last year only two matched went to extra holes in the entire tournament. Romero defeated Norman after 21 holes in the first round, and Maggert beat Magee on the second extra hole after their 36-hole final had been tied. This year four matches already went beyond 18 holes.
Due to the rainy conditions, "winter rules" apply. Players are able to lift, clean, and place their ball when on the fairway or closely mown area.
Second round action starts at 9:30am. The suspended matches will resume at 10am and the winners will tee off against each other at 11:36am.