Luke Donald & Lee Westwood earn early wins in Casares

Luke Donald and Lee Westwood
Donald (left) and Westwood were comfortable victors on day one

Lee Westwood and Luke Donald both recorded comprehensive victories in their opening games at the World Match Play Championship in Casares.

Englishman Westwood beat Denmark's Anders Hansen 6&5, while countryman Donald defeated American Ryan Moore 4&3 in the first round of group matches.

Northern Ireland duo Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell also won but Paul Casey lost 3&1 to Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

Ian Poulter birdied the last to force a half with Italy's Francesco Molinari.

McIlroy defeated South African Retief Goosen on the last hole and US Open holder McDowell beat Open champion Louis Oosthuizen 3&1.

Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez trounced Masters champion Charl Schwartzel 6&5, while former world number one Martin Kaymer beat 2009 US PGA champion YE Yang 2&1.

The format sees 24 players divided into eight groups of three based on world rankings, with two points for a win and one for a halved match.

The top two from each group will progress to the last 16 knockout stages.

Westwood's victory was thanks in part to a blistering run of six birdies in eight holes.

The world number one started with a bogey at the Finca Cortesin course on the Costa del Sol but found his range with the putter between the fourth and 11th holes to rout his Danish opponent.

Westwood, who is bidding for a third straight tournament victory after wins in Indonesia and Korea, said: "I hit it close throughout that run of birdies and I was always on my guard today."

The 38-year-old added: "I'd like to start finishing off tournaments like I did 10 years ago - that habit of just really being patient and lingering around and sort of sticking your chin out at the right time.

"That obviously works wonders for your confidence and I started to feel it again in Korea."

World number two Donald is targeting a clash with Westwood in Sunday's final, even though it would mean he cannot take over the top spot in the world rankings.

"I would love to play Lee," said Donald, who beat Kaymer to win the WGC Match Play title in Arizona earlier this year.

"There's more satisfaction when you can take down the number one player in the world."

McDowell was grateful for the instant chance to move on from his closing 79 at the Players Championship on Sunday.

"I wouldn't have liked a week off to think about the way I played," he said.

"I've had a couple of days in the gym just trying to get a little bit of life back in the legs because they went dead on me."

After a bogey, double bogey finish to the front nine he eagled the long 11th and birdied the 13th and short 17th.

McIlroy was two down to Goosen after seven, but after fighting back to level he birdied the 15th to nose in front and matched Goosen's birdies at the 16th and 18th.

First round results:

MA Jimenez (Spa) beat C Schwartzel (SA) 6&5

A Quiros (Spa) beat P Casey (Eng) 3&1

R McIlroy (NI) beat R Goosen (SA) 1 up

G McDowell beat L Oosthuizen (SA) 3&1

M Kaymer (Ger) beat YE Yang (Kor) 2&1

L Donald (Eng) beat R Moore (US) 4&3

L Westwood (Eng) beat A Hansen (Den) 6&5

F Molinari (Ita) halved with I Poulter (Eng)