Marana, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Matt Kuchar cruised to a 3 & 2 win over Bernd Wiesberger on Wednesday to advance to the second round of the WGC - Accenture Match Play Championship.
Kuchar, the defending champion, is the No. 2 seed in the Gary Player bracket. Six of the top seven seeds in that bracket advanced, and Kuchar moves on to face fellow former U.S. Amateur winner Ryan Moore.
Moore, the seventh seed, ousted Joost Luiten, 2 & 1, in their first round match at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain.
Rose, the top seed in Kuchar's bracket, picked up a tough 1-up win over Scott Piercy. Rose was 1-down at the turn, but won three of four holes from the 11th to take control of the match. However, Rose bogeyed the 17th to lose the hole. They halved the last, allowing Rose to advance.
Stenson, the No. 1 seed in the Bobby Jones bracket and No. 1 overall seed, earned a hard-fought 2 & 1 win over Kiradech Aphibarnrat. Stenson will face 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen in round two. Oosthuizen fended off Nick Watney, 1-up.
Rory McIlroy, the 2012 runner-up, took down Boo Weekley, 3 & 2. McIlroy, the top seed in the Ben Hogan bracket, will face Harris English in round two. English cruised past Lee Westwood, 5 & 3.
Richard Sterne crushed Zach Johnson, the No. 1 seed in the Sam Snead bracket. Sterne rolled to a 5 & 4 win over Johnson, the lone top-seed to lose.
Kuchar was 2-up after four against Wiesberger, but the Austrian took the fifth and sixth to square the match. After a pair of halves, Kuchar won the next four holes, two with birdies and two with pars, to take control.
Wiesberger was conceded the 14th when Kuchar forgot to replace his ball mark after moving it because the mark was in Wiesberger's putting line. Instead of possibly winning the match there, Kuchar halved the next two holes to pick up the win.
"There were a couple of questions. I think Bernd asked my caddie, Lance, had I remembered to move the mark back. And it came to me and I said, Son of a gun, I did not move the mark back," admitted Kuchar, who has advanced to at least the quarterfinals in each of the last three years.
Moore and Luiten were close throughout their match. Moore claimed the 13th with a birdie to go 3-up for the first time, but Luiten won the next two holes to get within 1-down. After 11 of the first 15 holes were won, the pair halved the final three holes to give Moore the win.
Trailing at the turn, Rose made eagle at 11 and followed with a birdie on No. 12 to move 1-up. A par on the 14th was enough extend his advantage to 2-up. Rose stumbled to a bogey on the 17th to trim his lead to 1-up, but the pair matched pars at the last to give Rose the victory.
Thomas Bjorn, Jordan Spieth and Ernie Els were among the other winners in the Player bracket, while 2011 champion Luke Donald was among the losers.
Stenson, who is the top overall seed since Tiger Woods and Adam Scott skipped the event, was 1-down on three different occasions against Aphibarnrat. Stenson claimed the 14th with a par to square the match.
The Swede birdied 16 and 17 to close out the match.
"Kiradech is a great player. He's not here without a reason, that's for sure. He's played some great golf the last year or two, and he was driving the ball fantastic," Stenson stated. "I had to dig deep. At the end of the day, he missed a short birdie, then I made them on 16 and 17."
Other winners in the Jones bracket included former major champions Oosthuizen and Webb Simpson as well as Jason Day and George Coetzee, who ousted Steve Stricker, who was making his season debut.
McIlory and Weekley traded two apiece over the first five holes. Three straight birdies from the seventh gave McIlroy a 3-up lead at the turn. He pushed the margin to 4-up with a birdie at 11.
Weekley fought back into the match with wins at 12 and 15. However, he made bogey on the 16th to give McIlroy the match.
Other winners in the Hogan bracket included 3-time winner this season Jimmy Walker, Sergio Garcia and former major winners Jim Furyk and Charl Schwartzel.
"When I got my head in front, I just hit two quite poor shots and went back to 1-down. I would have loved to take it on 18, but I guess I'll take it on the 22nd," said Garcia, who had the longest match of the day. "I missed the chip on 18, then I hit a terrible putt there too. I hit some good shots in extra holes."
Johnson birdied the second to grab his only lead of the match. Sterne squared things up with a birdie on the fourth, then won three of four holes from the sixth to take control of the match.
Around the turn, Johnson won the 10th with a birdie for just his second winning hole of the match. Sterne won three of the next four to seal the win.
Dustin Johnson, the two seed in the Snead bracket, dropped a 4 & 3 decision to Peter Hanson. Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan and Graeme McDowell all advanced in that bracket, while Gary Woodland and Martin Kaymer were among the other losers.
NOTES: The six former winners in the field went 3-3, with Kuchar, Mahan and Stenson advancing and Donald, Ian Poulter and Stricker losing ... Stenson became the first overall No. 1 seed to advance to the second round since 2008 ... Dustin Johnson was a first-round loser for the fifth time in six years ... Higher seeds won 23 of the 32 matches, the highest number ever ... In the Hogan and Player brackets, six of the top seven seeds advanced ... McDowell, Jason Dufner and Els all won in 19 holes, while Brandt Snedeker advanced in 20 holes and Garcia's win over Marc Leishman came on the 22nd hole.