WGC Match Play: Ian Poulter, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods make winning start

Ian Poulter at the WGC Match Play
2010 winner Poulter atoned for an 8&6 defeat against Kisner last year

Englishman Ian Poulter birdied the final two holes for victory over Kevin Kisner on the opening day of the WGC Match Play in Austin, Texas.

The 43-year-old world number 32 lost the previous two holes to a birdie and an eagle but beat the American two up.

There were comfortable wins for Rory McIlroy, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton and Tiger Woods.

The 64 players are divided into 16 groups of four, with a round-robin format for the first three days.

The 16 group winners then advance to the knockout stage on Saturday, when the quarter-finals will also be played, with the semi-finals, final and third-place match taking place on Sunday.

McIlroy did not lose a hole against Luke List, sealing a 5&4 win with his fourth birdie of the day.

Casey, who successfully defended his Valspar Championship title last weekend and rose to 11th in the world rankings, was one down after five holes against Mexico's Abraham Ancer before easing to a 5&3 win, while three-time Match Play winner Woods recovered from one down against Aaron Wise to record a 3&1 victory.

Fleetwood was two down after seven against Korea's Byeong Hun An but won 3&2, while Matt Wallace saw off former PGA champion Keegan Bradley one up.

Matthew Fitzpatrick lost the final two holes with bogeys for a one down defeat to South African Justin Harding and Lee Westwood lost to a final hole birdie from world number nine Xander Schauffele.

Defending champion Bubba Watson began with a defeat, losing the final hole to fellow American Kevin Na after two bunker shots from a greenside trap stayed in the sand.

Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth, a Texan native, fought back from three down after six holes to finish all square with Billy Horschel, winning the last with a birdie.

But world number five Justin Thomas, who was two up after three holes, lost 3&2 to Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard, who is making his first appearance in the event.

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