O'Malley beats Tiger Woods

CARLSBAD, Calif., Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson andDavid Duval are among the biggest names in golf, but all three were sent packing Wednesday after the first round of the World Golf Championships-Match Play Championship.

In a stunning turn of events at the La Costa Resort and Spa, the tournament lost its top three seeds in a span of two hours.


Australia's Peter O'Malley became the first No. 64 seed to win a match in the history of the four-year event, shocking Woods, the world's top-ranked player, 2 and 1.

"I had a no-lose situation, really, " said O'Malley, who closed out the match by holing a 20-birdie putt on No. 17. "No one expected me to win, so I can just go out there and play my game and if I win, well, it's great and if I don't, it doesn't really matter."


Woods' loss seemed to create a domino effect. Moments later, No. 63 John Cook drained a 35-foot birdie putt on No. 16 to oust Mickelson, the No. 2 seed, 3 and 2.

Duval seemed ready to advance, leading No. 62 Kevin Sutherland by two holes with two to play. But Sutherland added to the day's fireworks by winning the final two holes with birdies, then ousting Duval on the second playoff hole. He tapped in for birdie on the par-5 second hole to clinch the victory.

"On any given day, anybody can beat anybody, and I think that's been proven in this tournament," Sutherland said. "I can't explain why the top three seeds all lost today, though. There's a lot of depth, I guess would be a reason for it."

The other top seeds -- No. 4 Sergio Garcia of Spain, No. 5 Ernie Els of South Africa, No. 6 David Toms, No. and reigning U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen of South Africa, No. 8 Davis Love III, No. 9 Vijay Singh of Fiji and No. 10 Chris DiMarco -- had no trouble moving into second round.


Regarded as the world's best match play competitor, Woods got a rude awakening from his lesser-known opponent, who qualified for the tournament only when Jose Coceres withdrew with a broken arm. O'Malley, a 35-year-old with only five career victories, tied for second behind Els at the Heineken Classic earlier this month.

Woods did not find the day very pleasant. Until sinking a 25-foot birdie on 16, he was in position to be the only player in the 64-man field not to register a birdie. He also complained that the greens were too bumpy.

"Some of the putts, I hit really well," he said. "They just didn't break. A lot of times, they were spent in the air bouncing. I got more mileage over the greens than I do when I travel all over the country."

O'Malley holed short birdie putts on Nos. 8 and 9 to take the lead and remained in control on the back, opening a three-hole lead with three to play. Woods stayed alive with his putt on No. 16, giving him a chance to make one of his patented charges. But O'Malley was not fazed and answered with a birdie of his own on 17 to end the match.


"I think what I had to do was just not make any mistakes on No. 17 and give myself a chance to win the match, and that's what I did," said O'Malley, who will face Nick Price in the second round.

The loss continued a disappointing start to the 2002 season for Woods. He tied for 10th at the Mercedes Championship and tied for 12th at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am before tying for fifth at the Buick Invitational. He did not play in last week's Nissan Open, citing fatigue.

Woods skipped last year's event, which was won by Steve Stricker, who beat Pierre Fulke of Sweden, 2 and 1, in the final at The Metropolitan Club in Australia. The tournament is guaranteed a new champion as Stricker, the No. 55 seed, was bounced by DiMarco, 3 and 2.

Spain's Jose Olazabal, the 26th seed, avenged his loss to Justin Leonard at the 1999 Ryder Cup, defeating the Texan, 1-up.

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