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Jason Day tweaks back in first-round win

By Steve Habel, The Sports Xchange
Jason Day, of Australia. Photo by Frank Polich/UPI
Jason Day, of Australia. Photo by Frank Polich/UPI | License Photo

AUSTIN, Texas -- Jason Day, the world's No. 2 ranked player, tweaked his lower back on the 15th hole during his 3-and-2 victory over Graeme McDowell at the Dell Match Play on Wednesday afternoon at Austin Country Club and headed straight to the therapy trailer after signing his scorecard.

Day looked gimpy coming off the 15th green and was in obvious pain when he dropped his driver after his tee shot on the next hole. He had to slowly slither down the side of a deep fairway bunker to play his second shot on the par-5 16th and was down on his knees next to the green when McDowell missed a birdie putt that would have extended the match, rising only to remove his cap and shake McDowell's hand.

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Wednesday's rounds were the first of three days of group play (or round robin) competition to be held through Friday. The player in each group with the highest point total at the end of group play advances to the 16-player, single-elimination matches.

The first match win of the tournament went to Brandt Snedeker over Charley Hoffman, 2 and 1. Hoffman took a 1-up lead with a birdie on the 10th hole, but Snedeker rallied with a par on the 14th and hole-winning birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 before ending the match with a par on No. 17.

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Other early first-round winners were: Charl Schwartzel over Danny Lee, 1-up; Thongchai Jaidee over Paul Casey, 2 and 1; Jason Dufner over Ricky Fowler, 2 and 1; Rafa Cabrera Bello over Hideki Matsuyama, 1-up; and Kevin Kisner over Soren Kjeldsen, 2 and 1. Scott Piercy and Byeong-Hun An halved their match, each earning half a point.

NOTES: The tournament features the Top 64 players from the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) as of March 14. The players were seeded by their ranking based on their position in the OWGR on March 21. ... Jim Furyk (wrist injury) and Henrik Stenson (scheduling) qualified but did not join the field. Patton Kizzire (No. 65) and Thorbjorn Olesen (No. 66) replaced Furyk and Stenson. ... Last year, the tournament utilized Group Play (or Round Robin) Matches for the first time with the field divided into 16 four-player groups. This year, the 18-hole matches will be played to a conclusion, or a halve, with matches not extending beyond 18 holes until Friday. ... Spectator tickets to the event, which is being held in Austin for the first time, sold out within weeks.

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