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Match Play pairings are all settled


March 16. 2013 7:10PM
The Associated Press

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LOS ANGELES — Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods will face some familiar players in the opening round of the Match Play Championship.


McIlroy, the 23-year-old from Northern Ireland, is the No. 1 seed at Dove Mountain north of Tucson, Ariz. He will play Shane Lowry of Ireland, who got in when Phil Mickelson chose not to play. Woods is the No. 2 and will play Charles Howell III, the first time they have squared off in this format since Woods beat Howell in the quarterfinals of the 1996 U.S. Amateur.


Luke Donald, who won the Match Play in 2011, is the No. 3 seed and opens against Marcel Siem of Germany. Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa is the No. 4 seed and will play Richie Ramsay of Scotland.


The tournament begins Wednesday.


McIlroy, who lost in the championship match a year ago to Hunter Mahan, is the No. 1 seed for the first time. The top seeds have been eliminated in the first round twice in the last three years, with Luke Donald losing a year ago to Ernie Els and Steve Stricker falling to Ross McGowan in 2010.


McIlroy and Lowry is not the only all-Irish match on Wednesday.


Graeme McDowell, who missed the cut at Riviera in his first competition in two months, opens against Padraig Harrington, who also missed the cut in the Northern Trust Open. Harrington has lost in the first round six times, including the last three years.


In another compelling first-round match, Adam Scott of Australia faces Tim Clark of South Africa, both good friends who use a broom-handled putter.


Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker, No. 4 in the world, have decided not to play this year.


Merrick gets first win

LOS ANGELES — John Merrick was a young face in the crowd at Riviera for so many years, dreaming of one day playing the fabled course on the PGA Tour.


On Sunday, he did better than that. He won on it.


Merrick hit two clutch shots that led to two pars in a sudden-death playoff and won the Northern Trust Open on Sunday when Charlie Beljan missed a 5-foot par putt on the second extra hole.


Merrick, who closed with a 2-under 69, became only the ninth player make this tournament is first PGA Tour victory. It could not have come at a better place. Merrick grew up in Long Beach, attended this event as a kid and went to school down the street at UCLA.


I can't put this into words, he said off the 10th green, his eyes welling with tears. Growing up as a kid, coming out here, I just wanted to play this tournament.


It was a tough finish for Beljan, famous for having an anxiety attack when he won at Disney late last year. He holed an 18-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole, similar to the theatrics provided last year by Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, to close with a 4-under 67 and wind up in a playoff.


Langer wins ACE Classic

NAPLES, Fla. — Bernhard Langer shot a final-round 72 and won his second ACE Group Classic title in three years by one stroke.


Langer two-putted from 50 feet on the 18th for par to finish at 12-under 204, ahead of Jay Don Blake at TwinEagles Club's Talon Course.


Langer, who won this tournament in 2011 and was runner-up last year, survived three bogeys and a double bogey. It was his 17th victory on the Champions Tour, and the seventh year he has won at least one tournament.




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