American Anthony Kim won two round-round robin matches Thursday in the Volvo World Match Play Championship, while fourth-ranked Paul Casey lost twice to drop out of contention for a semifinal spot.
Kim topped the Seve Ballesteros Group with four points after beating Casey and Retief Goosen, both 3 and 2, at Finca Cortesin Golf Club. Scott Strange beat Casey, returning from a rib injury, 1-up. Goosen beat Strange 1-up.
"This is the first round where I really played solid golf in over a year," Kim said. "I've been scoring pretty sporadically ... but this was a consistent round with some great ball striking. It's important to get a huge lead because if there is a tiebreaker, then that counts. We're just trying to keep our foot on the gas."
Casey lost to the 168th-ranked Strange when he missed a 7-foot birdie putt on 18.
"I can't swing the way I want," Casey said. "I'm coming out of a lot of the shots. Scott played well, but, having said that, I gave him three holes on the front and you can't do that against anybody in this field."
In the Mark McCormack Group, Oliver Wilson beat Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer, both 1-up, and Robert Allenby topped Kaymer 1-up and halved with Garcia.
The Wilson-Allenby match Friday will determine the semifinalist.
"I was very nervous all day yesterday," said Wilson, fighting neck pain. "Towards the end of my first match it was tightening up, but overall it was pretty good and to win twice on the first day is everything I wanted to do."
In Gustaf Larson Group play, Angel Cabrera beat Rory McIlroy 3 and 2, and Simon Dyson held off Henrik Stenson 3 and 2. In the Assar Gabrielsson Group, Jeev Milkha Singh topped Lee Westwood 5 and 4, and Ross Fisher edged Camilo Villegas 1-up.