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McIlroy and Spieth off the mark at WGC Matchplay

Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth strolled to casual wins on the first day of the WGC Matchplay Championship.

Golf’s two hot-shots were not made to sweat by their opponents – Jason Dufner (McIlroy) and Mikko Ilonen (Spieth) – as they headed for the clubhouse at Harding Park as 5&4 and 4&2 winners.

Despite a comfortable margin it was Dufner who afforded the world no.1 victory rather than Rory, who glided along in third gear notching up 13 consecutive pars with no reply offered by the struggling American.

The Masters Champion, meanwhile, worked aggressively to keep a trying Mikko Ilonen at arm’s reach. Making it look easy on his way to putting seven birdies to dash the Finn’s hopes, who at one stage cut the Texan’s lead to 1 hole.

Today, McIlroy will face Brandt Snedeker while Spieth will play Matt Every, who was beaten by Lee Westwood on the first day.

Elsewhere in San Francisco, there were defeats for Henrik Stenson, Jason Day, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, and Graeme McDowell.

Shot of the day from Gary Woodland at the 14th.

Selected matches:

Henrik Stenson lost to John Senden 19 holes

Miguel Angel Jimenez lost to Bubba Watson 5&4

Keegan Bradley lost to Louis Oosthuizen 6&5

Justin Rose lost to Marc Leishman 3&2

Jason Day lost to Charley Hoffman 4&3

Paul Casey beat Chris Kirk 22 holes

Ian Poulter lost to Webb Simpson 3&2

Shane Lowry beat Graeme McDowell 1up

Tommy Fleetwood lost to Sergio Garcia 2dn

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