News & ToursFebruary 17, 2010

Johnson Cooling Off In Match Play

MARANA, Ariz. -- The first-round match between Dustin Johnson and Camilo Villegas Wednesday morning at the Accenture Match Play Championship is proving how different stroke play and match play golf can be.

Coming in hot after successfully defending his title Sunday at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Johnson figured to be poised to make a run deep into the week, but against Villegas, he's just running around.

Johnson has begun the match by conceding each of the first four holes. There is no score posted for either man until they both made par at the fifth. That's just not something you're going to see often -- a player conceding that many holes in a match, let alone four in a row ... at the start.

On the first hole he hit his approach well over the green and couldn't recover from the desert. On the par-5 second he was in a greenside bunker in two, but still had 10 feet when he conceded Villegas' short eagle putt. On the par-3 third he was also in a greenside bunker and left his next two shots in while Villegas inches away for eagle. And at the fourth, a driveable par-4, he hit his drive so far left that ShotLink couldn't provide a yardage for his position in relation to the green. Villegas was just short of the green and safe. He picked up yet again.

Sometimes you have to think match play would be more compelling if there were a way to play defense.

--Dave Shedloski

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