Woods wins first match back after eight-month layoff

Tiger Woods made a triumphant return from injury, defeating Australian Brendan Jones 3 and 2 in the 1st round of the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship.

updated: February 26, 2009 13:55 IST
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Tucson (Arizona):

Tiger Woods made a triumphant return from injury, defeating Australian Brendan Jones 3 and 2 in the first round of the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship.

Woods was playing his first tournament since his US Open triumph last June. Eight days after that victory, the 14-time major champion had surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

"I felt for sure it would be more stiff than it was," Woods said of his knee. "It held up well. I feel good." Woods was quick out of the blocks, making a birdie at the first hole and taking a 2-up lead at the second, where he hit his approach within four feet and Jones conceded.

It was just the kind of start Woods had said he needed to shake the rust off his game.

"I got off to a quick start, which certainly helped," he said. "I felt like I hit it good all day, except for a couple of loose iron shots."

Woods stretched his lead to 3-up when Jones bogeyed the 12th, then Woods eagled the par-five 13th at Dove Mountain to take a 4-up lead with five to play.

Jones showed he wasn't finished yet with an eagle at 15 that left him 3-down, but when Woods saved par from a bunker to halve the 16th it was all over.

Vijay Singh advanced with a 2 and 1 victory over Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen. Padraig Harrington was beaten 1-up by American Pat Perez.

Phil Mickelson, drawn in Singh's quarter, survived a tricky encounter with 2007 US Open champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina.

Mickelson, fresh from defending his US PGA Tour title in Los Angeles on Sunday, was 4-up through 13 holes but lost the next four in a row.

Cabrera won the last three of those with birdies before they halved the 18th, where Cabrera sank a 10-footer for par to extend the match. Mickelson finally captured the match with a birdie at the 19th hole.

European sensation Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland made it safely through, beating South African Louis Oosthuizen 2 and 1. American Anthony Kim and Colombian Camilo Villegas posted emphatic victories, Kim beating Taiwan's Lin Wen-Tang 7 and 5 and Villegas beating Australian Rod Pampling 7 and 6.

Kim will next face England's Oliver Wilson, who upset South Korea's KJ Choi 3 and 1.

Australian Mathew Goggin notched an upset over another US Ryder Cup hero, downing Kenny Perry 2 and 1.

England's Lee Westwood was another early winner, advancing with a 2-and-1 victory over Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng.