Two All-Ireland showdowns in Accenture World Matchplay
Published 18/02/2013 | 09:45
There will now be two All-Ireland clashes at this week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona following last night’s Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles.
Ireland's Shane Lowry will face Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy in the first round of the on Wednesday and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington will take on Graeme McDowell.
The mouthwatering draw for Irish golfing fans also guarantees two Irish players will make the last 32 of the prestigious and lucrative tournament
With Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker pulling out of the first of this season's world championships Lowry, winner of the 2009 Irish Open as an amateur, was in line to clash with second seed Tiger Woods.
But that changed when Swede Fredrik Jacobson, last man in as replacement for the injured Snedeker, finished joint third at the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles and moved up on the world rankings from 66th into the top 50, leaving Lowry to face the world number one.
Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington will tee-off on Wednesday at 5.55pm(Irish time) while McIlroy and Lowry will go to battle at 7.05pm(Irish time).
Tigers Woods will now meet his former Presidents Cup partner Charles Howell, while third seed Luke Donald - joint 16th in his first event of the year at Riviera after a disappointing closing 75 - will be up against German Marcel Siem.
Meanwhile, Surprise Northern Trust Open winner John Merrick has made it all the way from 241st to 74th on the new world rankings.
Merrick beat fellow American Charlie Beljan in a play-off in Los Angeles after overnight leader and defending champion Bill Haas had crashed to a closing 73.
Beljan improves from 151st to 64th, but too late to qualify for this week's 64-man WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson. The cut-off was last Monday's rankings.
Latest leading positions in the world golf rankings:
1 Rory McIlroy 12.09pts, 2 Tiger Woods 8.90, 3 Luke Donald 7.35, 4 Brandt Snedeker 6.82, 5 Louis Oosthuizen 6.36, 6 Justin Rose 6.35, 7 Adam Scott 5.78, 8 Lee Westwood 5.45, 9 Phil Mickelson 5.14, 10 Bubba Watson 5.09
Selected others: 19 Graeme McDowell 4.37, 50 Padraig Harrington, 68 Shane Lowry