NORTH BERWICK, Scotland - English golfers Chris Wood and Matt Fitzpatrick secured easy first-round wins at the Paul Lawrie Match Play on Thursday as they look for a victory to cement a place in Europe's Ryder Cup team for the first time.
Wood recovered from losing the first hole to Brett Rumford and won 4 and 3, while Fitzpatrick got out to a 6-up lead after nine holes before closing out a 4-and-3 win over Thomas Bjorn.
Wood is the top-seeded player at Archerfield in Scotland and, like Fitzpatrick, currently occupies a spot in the European team for the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine next month.
Tournament host Paul Lawrie advanced to the last 32 by beating Lucas Bjerregaard 4 and 2. Renato Paratore of Italy was the biggest winner in the first round, beating Stephen Gallacher 7 and 6.
Gallacher, who played in the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, was making his return to the European Tour after recovering from a career-threatening wrist injury.
Haydn Porteous of South Africa, Roope Kakko of Finland, English players Oliver Fisherand Matt Southgate, and Spanish players Eduardo de la Riva and Alejandro Canizares all required extra holes to win their matches in the last 64.
In a change to the schedule, the European Tour said the Round of 32 and the Round of 16 will both take place on Friday because of severe winds being forecast for Sunday.