MARANA, Ariz. – Luke Donald has become only the third No. 1 seed to lose in the opening round of the Match Play Championship.
Ernie Els built an early lead and never let go in a 5-and-4 victory over the top-ranked player in the world.
A year after Donald never trailed in any of the six matches he won to capture the title, he never led against Els. He joins Tiger Woods in 2002 and Steve Stricker in 2010 as the only top seeds to fail to get out of the opening round.
Woods barely made it through at Dove Mountain.
He trailed Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano by one hole until winning the 15th and 16th, then holed an 8-foot par putt on the 18th hole to avoid going into extra holes.