Top seed Stricker knocked out of Match Play Championship

By Andrew Both

MARANA, Arizona (Reuters) - Top seed Steve Stricker was a surprise loser in the first round at the $8.5 million Accenture Match Play Championship Wednesday when Britain's Ross McGowan made a 25-foot par putt on the 19th hole.

It is only the second time the top seed has been eliminated on the first day of the World Golf Championships event, with Tiger Woods also losing in 2002.

Stricker took the one-up defeat at Dove Mountain in his stride, reminding reporters that there was no such thing as a massive upset in an 18-hole sprint.

"Like I said yesterday, it's kind of scary because you don't know who you're going to run into," he said. "You don't know how the guy is going to play and it forces your hand at times.

"We both played really well and didn't give each other many holes out there. He hit some great shots coming in and I was having a hard time getting the ball close.

"He started putting really good coming in and obviously made a great putt to end the match."

Despite being the 64th seed, McGowan was not shocked to win.

"I would say I fancied my chances," the Englishman told reporters. "I had a shaky start but I played really nicely from about the fifth or sixth (hole).

"To hole a few putts, especially the one on 19, I could go all the way."

To go all the way he will have to beat exciting 18-year-old Ryo Ishikawa, the youngest player in the field.

"I was very nervous but first hole birdie gave me a good experience and confidence," said Ishikawa, who won the final three holes, the final two with birdies.

The eighth seeded Padraig Harrington was also beaten on Wednesday, beaten 3&1 by India's Jeev Milka Singh.

"I putted badly (and) he putted well," Harrington told reporters. "In match play, it's huge who putts best.

"I'm happy with every aspect of my game but it's just not ready for one-off (match play).

"Every year, it's pretty much the same at this event."

Defending champion Geoff Ogilvy of Australia, breezed through his first match with a 7&5 win over Alexander Noren.

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)