Shane Lowry has been drawn against World number one Rory McIlroy in the first round of next week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at Dove Mountain in Marana, Arizona.
The Offaly man faces a tough task against Northern McIlroy, was beaten 2&1 by American Hunter Mahan in last year’s Match Play final.
World number two Tiger Woods, a three-times winner of the elite World Golf Championships event, will take on Charles Howell III in Wednesday’s opening round while third-ranked Luke Donald takes on Marcel Siem.
Lowry, who is ranked 65th in the world, qualified for the finals, after Phil Mickelson withdrew from the event due to a family holiday. World number four Brandt Snedeker is also an absentee, his place going to Swede Frrederick Jacobson. The latter will now meet Ernie Els in the opening round of the competition.
“I’m just excited to be a part of it”, he told reporters. “I’m looking forward to it. I’ll deal with it when I get there. You never know how much golf you get to play, but I know I’m going to get there and play some golf. It’s always fun. Anything can happen, we know that. It can be a quick exit, or you can be in there for a long time”.
Picks to watch in the first round include:
Woods vs. Charles Howell III, McIlroy vs Shane Lowry, Bubba Watson vs. Chris Wood, Ernie Els vs. Fredrik Jacobson, Bill Haas vs. Nicolas Colsaerts, Nick Watney vs. David Toms, Martin Kaymer vs. George Coetzee and Hunter Mahan vs. Matteo Manassero.