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Tiger, McIlroy both knocked out of Accenture Match Play in first round

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy were both beaten in first round matches at the Accenture Match Play Championships Thursday in Arizona.

Tiger Woods looks down from the 12th tee box at his lie on the fairway in the first round against Charles Howell III during the Match Play Championship golf tournament, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, in Marana, Ariz.

Ted S. Warren/AP

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Different month, different desert, same shocking outcome.

Any thoughts of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods going head-to-head late Sunday afternoon came crashing down under darkening skies in the high desert of Dove Mountain. Just like the last time they got together in Abu Dhabi to start the season, they didn't even make it to the weekend.

The Match Play Championship was even worse. They didn't make it out of the first round.

"It happens," Woods said. "It's the nature of the format. You've just got to beat the guy you're playing against, and I didn't do that today. Chucky won the match."

That would be Charles Howell III, who says he has never beaten Woods in any match and picked a fine time to end that streak.

Doing his best Tiger impersonation, the match was all square when Howell nearly holed out with a wedge for birdie on the 15th, and then drained a 25-foot birdie putt on the 16th, going 2 up when Woods missed a 12-foot birdie.

The match ended in pars on the next hole.

Just moments earlier, in a sloppy match with an old friend, McIlroy had one last chance to avoid losing to Shane Lowry when the portly Irishman went bunker-to-bunker on the 18th hole. McIlroy, from the middle of the fairway, hit yet another poor iron shot into the sand and Lowry closed him out by saving par with a nervy 4-foot putt.

"It's definitely a day I'm going to remember," Lowry said.


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