Sterne upsets No. 1 seeded Johnson

Richard Sterne of South Africa made Zach Johnson the first top-seeded player exit early in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship with a 5-and-4 upset victory in round one at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz.

Johnson, No. 1 in the Sam Snead bracket, led only after making a birdie on the second hole, as 16th-seeded Sterne took command by the turn with birdies on the fourth, sixth and seventh holes, going 3-up when Zach made bogey at No. 9.

After Johnson rallied briefly by winning the 10th with a birdie, the South African wrapped things up with birdies on the 11th, 13th and 14th, where his six-footer won it and earned him a second-round match against Hunter Mahan–who has beaten him twice in the Accenture.

“Hopefully the third time it’ll be lucky around there,” said Sterne, who has won six times on the European Tour and nine times as a pro. “Eventually it’s got to come my way. That’s how I look at it.”

In another upset, 15th-seeded Peter Hanson of Sweden knocked off second-seeded Dustin Johnson, 4 and 3, also in the Snead bracket, where No. 3 Bubba Watson is the highest seeded player remaining after a 2-and-1 victory over No. 14 Mikko Ilonen of Finland.

No. 14-seeded Rickie Fowler took down No. 3 Ian Poulter of England, 2 and 1, and No. 14 George Coetzee of South Africa beat No. 3 Steve Stricker in the Bobby Jones bracket, 3 and 1.

Henrik Stenson of Sweden, seeded No. 1 in the field and in the Jones bracket, got past Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, 2 and 1; top-seeded Justin Rose of England defeated Scott Piercy, 1 up, in the Gary Player bracket, and top-seeded Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland beat Boo Weekley, 3 and 2, in the Ben Hogan bracket.

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