Masters champion Bubba Watson stands in the way of Bristol Chris Wood's prospects at the WGC-Accenture World Matchplay in Arizona
BRISTOL’S Chris Wood faces Masters Champion Bubba Watson in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona tomorrow.
Wood, who played his way into the tournament courtesy of his win at the Qatar Masters in Doha last month, will be making his second appearance at the event at Dove Mountain, Tucson, Arizona, United States.
The Long Ashton Golf Club member is ranked 58th in the Official Golf World Rankings and sixth in the Race to Dubai standings, is aiming to break into the top-50 and the possibility of returning to Augusta where he played in 2010.
But if that dream is to become a reality he will need to beat the 2012 Masters champion, left-hander Watson.
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Meanwhile, World Number One Rory McIlroy will take on his old friend Shane Lowry in the first round of the event.
Northern Irishman McIlroy and Ireland’s Lowry were foursomes partners in the Ireland team that won the European Amateur Team Championship in 2007 and are also stable mates at Dublin-based management company Horizon Sports.
With Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker pulling out of the first of this season's World Golf 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 Official World Golf Ranking from 66th into the top 50, leaving Lowry to face the Ulsterman.
Woods will now meet his former Presidents Cup partner Charles Howell III, while third seed Luke Donald will be up against German debutant Marcel Siem.
McIlroy versus Lowry is not the only all-Irish duel. Graeme McDowell has to take on Padraig Harrington.
The draw also sees former winner Ian Poulter against Scotland's Stephen Gallacher and the six-strong English contingent is completed by David Lynn against US Open Champion Webb Simpson.
America’s Hunter Mahan, meanwhile, will launch his defence of the Accenture Match Play against Italy’s Matteo Manassero, looking to become the second player to retain the title after Tiger Woods completed the feat in 2003-2004.
Draw for the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at s, on Wednesday (seeded positions in brackets):
(1) Rory McIlroy v (64) Shane Lowry, (32) Rickie Fowler v (33) Carl Pettersson, (16) Dustin Johnson v (49) Alexander Noren, (17) Graeme McDowell v (48) Padraig Harrington, (8) Bubba Watson v (57) Chris Wood, (25) Jim Furyk v (40) Ryan Moore, (9) Charl Schwartzel v (56) Russell Henley, (24) Zach Johnson v (41) Glen Day
(4) Louis Oosthuizen v (61) Richie Ramsay, (29) Branden Grace v (36) Robert Garrigus, (13) Keegan Bradley v (52) Marcus Fraser, (20) Ernie Els v (45) Fredrik Jacobson, (5) Justin Rose v (60) KJ Choi, (28) Bill Haas v (37) Nicolas Colsaerts, (12) Sergio Garcia v (53) Thongchai Jaidee, (21) Matt Kuchar v (44) Hiroyuki Fujita
(2) Tiger Woods v (63) Charles Howell, (31) Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño v (34) Francesco Molinari, (15) Webb Simpson v (50) David Lynn, (18) Peter Hanson v (47) Thomas Bjorn, (7) Lee Westwood v (58) Rafael Cabrera Bello, (26) Martin Kaymer v (39) George Coetzee, (10) Jason Dufner v (55) Richard Sterne, (23) Hunter Mahan v (42) Matteo Manassero
(3) Luke Donald v (62) Marcel Siem, (30) Paul Lawrie v (35) Scott Piercy, (14) Steve Stricker v (51) Henrik Stenson, (19) Nick Watney v (46) David Toms, (6) Adam Scott v (59) Tim Clark, (27) Jamie Donaldson v (38) Thorbjørn Olesen, (11) Ian Poulter v (54) Stephen Gallacher, (22) Bo Van Pelt v (43) John Senden