The 64-player showdown at Austin Nation Membership makes use of a round-robin format to find out 16 gamers for a weekend knockout occasion to determine a champion, though it is a format untested till this 12 months by Woods, who certified for the primary time since 2013.
The 14-time main champion opened solidly however unspectacularly with a Three&1 victory over US 61st seed Aaron Clever, leaving 13th seed Woods atop his all-American group after Brandt Snedeker and Patrick Cantlay halved.
“We have been each struggling just a little bit,” Woods mentioned. “It was simply attempting to beat the man in entrance of you and I used to be in a position to advance.”
Woods – who gained the occasion in 2003, 2004 and 2008 – fell 1-down when Clever birdied the eighth, ninth and 10th holes. However Clever made bogeys at 13, 15 and 17 handy Woods the win.
“I used to be up early then down and up. There was lots of ebb and movement on this match,” Woods mentioned. “It isn’t like we have been enjoying nice golf. In some way I got here out with the win.”
Fourth seed McIlroy, the 2015 WGC Match-Play winner coming off a Gamers Championship victory two weeks in the past, downed US 64th and final seed Luke Record 5&four.
McIlroy by no means trailed and by no means misplaced a gap and closed with back-to-back seven-foot birdie putts at 13 and 14 to safe the triumph.
“I rode my luck just a little bit,” McIlroy mentioned. “I had some missed photographs however one way or the other bought away with most of them. I performed effectively. To birdie 13 and 14 to shut the match out was good.
“I wanted to reply to what he did and I really feel like I did that effectively so that provides me just a little little bit of confidence going into tomorrow.”
US high seed Johnson, the 2017 winner who captured final month’s WGC Mexico occasion, opened with a four&Three win over US 55th seed Chez Reavie.
“I just like the golf course. it units up effectively for me,” Johnson mentioned. “It performs powerful. The greens are difficult. They’re agency. You have to hit high quality golf photographs if you are going to get near the opening.”
England’s second-seeded Justin Rose downed Argentine 53rd seed Emiliano Grillo 2&1.
“I used to be pretty regular. I did not give away a lot, took care of the par-5s for essentially the most half,” Rose mentioned. “Not electrifying golf however simply ok to get the job finished.”
England’s 10th-seeded Paul Casey, a two-time WGC Match-Play runner-up coming off his second consecutive PGA Valspar crown simply three days in the past, beat Mexico’s 58th-seeded Abraham Ancer 5&Three.
“I used to be attempting to handle the power,” Casey mentioned. “I used to be drained the previous couple of days. Type and confidence are nice. I am attempting to get the power again up.
“That was top-of-the-line matches I’ve performed round this golf course.”
Additionally on his sport was English 30th seed match-play wizard Ian Poulter, the 2010 champion who beat US 48th seed Kevin Kisner 2-up to avenge his ouster from final 12 months.
“It was painful. I wasn’t going to roll over like final 12 months,” Poulter mentioned. “It was a match I wished to win. Immediately was actually vital to come back out robust and do no matter that you must do.”
Within the “Group of Demise” the place just one can advance, Australian 12th seed Jason Day blew a Three-up lead after eight holes and misplaced to US 52nd seed Jim Furyk 2-up whereas Swedish 37th seed Henrik Stenson beat US 20th seed Phil Mickelson 2&1.
Danish 50th seed Lucas Bjerregaard upset US fifth seed Justin Thomas Three&2 within the largest upset whereas two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson misplaced 1-up to US 57th seed Kevin Na and reigning Masters champion Patrick Reed, the US 16th seed, misplaced to US 51st seed Andrew Putnam Three&2.
Outcomes from Wednesday’s opening matches of the WGC Match-Play
Championship at Austin (Texas) Nation Membership (Group winners advance to
Dustin Johnson (USA x1) bt Chez Reavie (USA x55) four&Three
Branden Grace (RSA x40) bt Hideki Matsuyama (JPN x24) four&Three
Justin Rose (ENG x2) bt Emiliano Grillo (ARG x53) 2&1
Gary Woodland (USA x22) bt Eddie Pepperell (ENG x34) 2&1
Brooks Koepka (USA x3) and Tom Lewis (ENG x60) halved
Li Haotong (CHN x36) bt Alex Noren (SWE x27) 5&four
Rory McIlroy (NIR x4) bt Luke Record (USA x64) 5&four
Justin Harding (RSA x47) bt Matthew Fitzpatrick (ENG x32) 1-up
Lucas Bjerregaard (DEN x50) bt Justin Thomas (USA x5) Three&2
Matt Wallace (ENG x33) bt Keegan Bradley (USA x31) 1-up
Bryson DeChambeau (USA x6) bt Russell Knox (SCO x59) Three&1
Marc Leishman (USA x17) bt Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA x39) 2-up
Francesco Molinari (ITA x7) bt Satoshi Kodaira (JPN x63) 5&four
Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN x45) bt Webb Simpson (USA x21) 2&1
Jon Rahm (ESP x8) bt Ki Si-woo (KOR x54) 7&5
Matt Kuchar (USA x23) bt JB Holmes (USA x43) Three&1
Xander Schauffele (USA x9) bt Lee Westwood (ENG x62) 1-up
Tyrrell Hatton (ENG x35) bt Rafa Cabrera Bello (ESP x29) four&Three
Paul Casey (ENG x10) bt Abraham Ancer (MEX x58) 5&Three
Charles Howell (USA x42) bt Cameron Smith (AUS x25) 2&1
Tommy Fleetwood (ENG x11) bt An Byeong-hun (KOR x49) Three&2
Kyle Stanley (USA x41) bt Louis Oosthuizen (RSA x19) Three&2
Jim Furyk (USA x52) bt Jason Day (AUS x12) 2-up
Henrik Stenson (SWE x37) bt Phil Mickelson (USA x20) 2&1
Tiger Woods (USA x13) bt Aaron Clever (USA x61) Three&1
Patrick Cantlay (USA x18) and Brandt Snedeker (USA x44) halved
Tony Finau (USA x14) bt Keith Mitchell (USA x56) 2&1
Ian Poulter (ENG x30) bt Kevin Kisner (USA x48) 2-up
Kevin Na (USA x57) bt Bubba Watson (USA x15) 1-up
Jordan Spieth (USA x28) and Billy Horschel (USA x38) halved
Andrew Putnam (USA x51) bt Patrick Reed (USA x16) Three&2
Sergio Garcia (ESP x26) bt Shane Lowry (IRL x46) four&2