Day Chasing Match Play Win

Picture: Julie Jacobson/AP
Aussie Jason Day is a leading contender at the Accenture Match Play. Picture: Julie Jacobson/AP
After going close in 2013, Jason Day has been eagerly awaiting another crack at the WGC Accenture Match Play tournament. The Queenslander relishes the head-to-head battle format in a field containing the best 64 available players in the world. Last year, Day picked-off three major champions - Zach Johnson , Bubba Watson and Graeme McDowell , along with promising young American, Russell Henley, to reach the semi-finals. That’s where he fell to eventual champion Matt Kuchar . The 26-year-old rebounded to defeat Ian Poulter in the play-off for third, his best result in three Matchplay outings. Four weeks after sharing second at the Farmers Insurance tournament, Day faces Denmark’s world No.60 Thorbjorn Olesen in the opening round.

World number 1 Tiger Woods, Adam Scott (no. 2) and Phil Mickelson (no. 4) might be missing, but there is still plenty of quality in this elite field. Favourite Rory McIlroy opens his campaign against veteran American Boo Weekley , while Lee Westwood lines up against rising American Harris English . Should McIlroy and Weestwood win their first round matches, they’ll face-off the next day.

Former champion Ian Poulter has a tough first-up assignment in colourful American Rickie Fowler . Scotland’s recent Dubai Desert Classic champion, Stephen Gallacher , has drawn South African legend Ernie Els , who has a horrible record in the tournament and is at long odds. McDowell might be a matchplay specialist, but he'll have his hands full against big-hitter Gary Woodland on a course made for long bombs.

The only other Australian in the field is world number 63, Marc Leishman . The 30-year-old Victorian is looking to break into the top 50 and step out of the shadow of high-profile countrymen, Scott and Day. A former US PGA Tour ‘Rookie of the Year’ and one-time winner on the tour, Leishman led last year’s Masters after day one, before finishing tied fourth behind Scott. Leishman can cause quite a stir in Arizona by knocking-off Spain’s Sergio Garcia . Australia has enjoyed success in the Accenture Match Play, with Geoff Ogilvy winning in 2006 and 2009. 

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