Meet your Accenture Match Play bracket busters
If you filled out a bracket for this year’s World Golf Championships Accenture Match Play and printed it out, it’s probably looking like the dog ate it right now. In the gathering darkness and bitter cold north of Tucson, Ariz., the world’s two top-ranked golfers met untimely ends at the hands of their 16-seed foes. Tiger Woods was done in by Charles Howell III, who is reasonably well-known this side of the Atlantic Ocean. One win a number of years ago, a number of close shaves thwarted by missed short putts, yadda yadda yadda.
But you are not the only one who has never or barely heard of Shane Lowry, who unseated Rory McIlroy Thursday. Let’s meet him and a few of the other underdog winners, shall we?
Who? 16 seed in the Bobby Jones bracket. Beat overall No. 1 Rory McIlroy.
Country of Origin: Ireland
Can you use that in a sentence or two? Before chipping in on two consecutive holes on the inward nine — Nos. 12 and 13 — en route to beating McIlroy, Shane Lowry’s other big career win came at the 2009 Irish Open. One of the first players to congratulate Lowry on the victory: McIlroy.
Who? 15 seed in the Gary Player bracket. Bead No. 2 Lee Westwood in 19 holes.
Country of Origin: Spain
Can you use that in a sentence or two? Born in the relatively golf-poor Canary Islands, Rafael Cabrera-Bello owns two European Tour victories: the 2009 Austrian Open and the 2012 Omega Dubai Desert Classic. One of the runners-up in the latter of those wins: Westwood.
Who? 14 seed in the Gary Player bracket. Beat No. 3 Jason Dufner.
Country of Origin: South Africa
Can you use that in a sentence or two? Richard Sterne, a former world top-20 player, has battled injury in recent years but now that he is finally healthy, he is moving up the Official World Golf Rankings like a squirrel up an oak tree. He has six European Tour wins, the most recent of which coming two weeks ago at the Joburg Open, which he won by seven strokes.
Who? 13 seed in the Bobby Jones bracket. Absolutely posterized No. 4 Dustin Johnson, 6&5.
Country of Origin: Sweden
Can you use that in a sentence or two? Alexander Norén, who played college golf in the United States at Oklahoma State, has three European Tour victories to his credit. Like Sterne, the most recent one was a commanding seven-shot victory, coming in the 2011 Nordea Masters in Sweden.
Who? 13 seed in the Ben Hogan bracket. Beat No. 4 Keegan Bradley.
Country of Origin: Australia
Can you use that in a sentence or two? A native of New South Wales, Australia, Marcus Fraser has two far-flung European Tour victories to his credit, in Russia and South Korea. His match with Bradley was one of Thursday’s tightest, as neither player was more than one hole up at any time.