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Wednesday 28 September 2016

McIlroy off to winning start

golf

MASTERS champion Jordan Spieth and world number one Rory McIlroy enjoyed comfortable victories on the opening day of the WGC-Cadillac Match Play, as a host of big names were grateful not to be making an early exit.

Spieth defeated Finland's Mikko Ilonen 4&2 while McIlroy saw off Jason Dufner 5&4, but defending champion Jason Day, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott and Graeme McDowell all suffered defeats at Harding Park in San Francisco.

That would usually mean heading for the airport and a flight home, but the traditional straight knockout format has been replaced by a round-robin phase with the 64 players divided into 16 groups of four.

Shane Lowry made a winning start with victory over fellow Irishman McDowell.

Offaly native Lowry edged past McDowell when winning by one hole in his opening group match.

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