Former Tiger Byrd Defeats Els In Match Play

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Former Clemson All-American Jonathan Byrd defeated Ernie Els 6 and 5 in the first round of the Accenture Match Play Championship at the Gallery Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Marana, Arizona. It was the first ever appearance in the Accenture Match Play for Byrd, who is the first former Clemson golfer to win a match in the 10-year history of the event.

Byrd was seeded 16th in the Ben Hogan Bracket, while Els was seeded first. Els fell to 6-9 in his career in the event. Byrd's victory margin tied for the 10th largest in the history of the event.

Byrd dominated the match, winning the first hole with a birdie on the par five first. The 2000 Clemson graduate won three of the first four holes, then won holes 7 thru 9 to take a six-up lead through nine holes. He then won the 12th hole with a birdie. The two players made par on the 13th, giving Byrd a 6 and 5 victory. Overall, Byrd was four under par for the 13 holes that he played. He won seven of the holes, while Els was victorious in just one. Byrd gained victory on four of the eight par four holes.

Byrd advances to meet Andres Romero in the second round on Thursday. Romero defeated Retief Goosen 2 and 1 in the first round.
Byrd is off to a strong start in 2008. He has made three of four cuts so far this year and has won $227,305 in four events. He finished 15th at the Mercedes Benz Invitational in Hawaii in January and was 13th at the FBR Open in Arizona in February. He is currently 59th on the PGA Tour money list and is ranked 62nd in the World Rankings.

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