Sports

Danny Willett rides hot putter to down Ryan Moore, 3 and 2, in WGC-Cadillac Match Play opener

If this was the past, even as recently as last year, Puyallup’s Ryan Moore would be one-and-done at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play and moving on to next tournament.

But with a new sponsor (Cadillac), a new venue (TPC Harding Park) and new format for this event, the Cascade Christian graduate is able stick around a couple more days.

Moore, the No. 29 seed, lost his opener, 3 and 2, to England’s Danny Willett, the No. 49 seed, who rode a hot putter to build a lead early on the back nine holes.

Moore gets a chance Thursday against England’s Andy Sullivan to even his record in his four-golfer pod. He will play Patrick Reed on Friday to complete the round-robin format — with the golfer sporting the best record from the pod moving on to the weekend round of 16.

Realistically, Moore must win both of his next matches to have a chance to advance. And if Willett beats Reed on Friday, Moore might need some help even if he can sweep the rest of his matches.

“I like the (round-robin) concept, for sure,” Moore said. “Obviously, I didn’t do what I needed to do today. It is in my hands still, to some extent. I’ve got to win a couple matches in a row. It is right in front of me.”

The matched started to turn on the 10th green. Both men faced putts for par — Willett looking at a 20-footer, and Moore a 4-footer.

The Englishman rolled his in right in the heart of the hole, and Moore missed it badly to go 1-down.

Both golfers hit good wedge approach shots into the 11th hole and were looking at birdie putts. Moore missed his from 13 feet, and Willett made his from a little closer to go 2-up.

And at No. 12, Willett again made a putt he needed to make — a 15-footer for par to halve the hole.

“I just wasn’t feeling great with the putter,” Moore said. “I’ve tried to figure it out the last couple of days, but it did not feel great again today. And he made some great putts. That is what you’ve got to do.

“These greens are very new, and very hard to read — at least for me.”

Moore missed a 5-footer for birdie to win the 13th hole. Then at No. 14, he hooked his drive out of bounds, had to hit a second tee shot and went 3-down.

He now holds a 4-7 singles match-play record as a professional.

Other key matches Wednesday: Top-seeded Rory McIlroy beat No. 56 Jason Dufner, 5 and 4; No. 2 Jordan Spieth, the Masters champion, beat 68th seed Mikko Ilonen, 4 and 2; and fourth seed Bubba Watson easily beat No. 69 Miguel Angel Jimenez, 5 and 4.

Among the first-day upsets, third-seeded Henrik Stenson lost to No. 65 John Senden in 19 holes, and No. 6 Justin Rose was beaten by 60th seed Marc Leishman, 3 and 2.

TIGER TO PLAY AT CHAMBERS BAY

Tiger Woods says he’ll be in the field at the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.

Woods added the June 15-21 event in University Place along with four other tournaments to his summer schedule — the Greenbrier Classic, the Memorial, the British Open at St. Andrews and the Quicken Loans National in late July.

Woods’ next tournament is The Players Championship, starting May 7.

CALVIN PEETE DIES

Calvin Peete, the most successful black player on the PGA Tour before the arrival of Tiger Woods, died Wednesday in Atlanta. He was 71.

The PGA Tour did not have a cause of death.

Peete won 12 times on the Tour, was on two Ryder Cup teams and was the most accurate driver of his generation. He led the tour in driving accuracy every year from 1981 to 1990. Peete’s biggest year was 1982, when he won four times. He won the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average in 1984 by edging Jack Nicklaus.

News services contributed to this report.

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