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Tiger rallies to win opening match

Feb. 20, 2008 at 9:47 PM

MARANA, Ariz., Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Tiger Woods staged an amazing rally Wednesday to defeat J.B. Holmes in the opening round of the Accenture Match Play Championship.

Trailing by three holes with five to play, the world's No. 1 player made three straight birdies and an eagle. He defeated Holmes 1-up to create a second-round match against Aaron Oberholser.

Phil Mickelson, meanwhile, held on for a 1-up victory over Pat Perez to open the first World Golf Championship event of the season.

The day's biggest surprise came when Ernie Els, ranked fourth in the world, became a 6 & 5 victim to Jonathan Byrd. Els had originally said he would not play in this tournament, then changed his mind last week.

Steve Stricker, who has moved past Els into the third spot in the world rankings, eliminated Daniel Chopra on the second extra hole. Chopra defeated Stricker in a playoff to win the Mercedes Championship in Hawaii last month.

Other winners Wednesday among the 32 first-round matches included Vijay Singh, K.J. Choi, Woody Austin, Colin Montgomerie, Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia.

Garcia will meet Boo Weekley in the second round while Mickelson will play Stuart Appleby and Stricker will take on Hunter Mahan.

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