Rory McIlroy relishing Tiger Woods showdown at WGC Match Play

Rory McIlroy relishing Tiger Woods showdown at WGC Match Play

Tiger Woods admitted that he did not play his best golf despite being among the winners in the opening round of the World Golf Championships-Dell Matchplay on Wednesday.

Woods' eagle on the short par-4 13th came in the middle of a furious comeback in his must-win match against Patrick Cantlay. "I needed to win my match and have Aaron beat Sneds so (I'm) very fortunate to move through and potentially (play) Rory tomorrow morning".

"Even from the get-go I needed to respond a little bit to what he did, and I feel like I did that pretty well". "We gave a few holes away with bogeys and three-putts and we won a few holes with some good birdies".

McIlroy, who won the Players Championship at Sawgrass on his last start, told Sky Sports: "I feel good".

"This will be a little different than what I'm used to", Woods said Tuesday.

The Match Play began to take shape, more because of 20 players from the 64-man field mathematically eliminated than who can still reach the weekend.

The group victor is likely to face fourth seed Rory McIlroy in the round of 16 on Saturday.

Brooks Koepka was trailing with three holes to go when he won the next two holes to take a one-up lead to the 18th, only for Tom Lewis of England to birdie the 18th for a halve. "I knew that coming out this morning, and perhaps he wouldn't he knew I wouldn't be that easy as what the match turned out to be a year ago".

"I know winning your first match is really important, winning every match is really important". Now he's in the knockout stage, facing Lucas Bjerregaard, the Dane who won his group featuring Justin Thomas. The last time they squared off was in the final round a year ago at the Tour Championship, where Woods capped off his comeback season with a victory.

Woods, back in the Match Play for the first time since 2013, has never been part of this round-robin format.

In the "Group of Death" where only one can advance, Australian 12th seed Jason Day blew a 3-up lead after eight holes and lost to USA 52nd seed Jim Furyk 2-up while Swedish 37th seed Henrik Stenson beat United States 20th seed Phil Mickelson 2&1.

Former world No.1 Day aggravated a back injury in his round one defeat to 48-year-old Jim Furyk and still has to play five-time major victor Phil Mickelson on Friday.

"And whatever happens this week as far as win or lose the match, whatever happens next week score-wise, if I continue to do that I'll be in the best position day in and day out to succeed". Snedeker closed out the 2-and-1 victory on the 17th green.

"It'll be exciting. It's definitely going to be one of those ones where I need to go out there and stick to my game plan and not really look at what he does until I maybe have to toward the end".

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