Biggest winners, losers after Wednesday at Match Play

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SAN FRANCISCO – From Ben Martin’s ace to the lack of buzz at Harding Park, here’s a look at some of the biggest winners and losers from Day 1 at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play:

WINNERS

Rory-Billy: Their blowout wins Wednesday ensures that their Friday showdown actually means something. Lucky us.

Marc Leishman: The big Aussie has a newfound perspective after the scary events of the past few weeks. He’s playing freely – and pretty darn well, too.

Hunter Mahan: His 7-and-6 thrashing of European Ryder Cupper Stephen Gallacher was the most lopsided result of the day. Still doesn’t make up for what happened at Gleneagles.

King Louie: Finally healthy and playing like it. Oosthuizen housed Keegan Bradley and seems to poised to repeat his quarterfinal appearance a year ago.

Webb: Clearly the guy loves the Bay Area – and $48 burger dogs.

Ben Martin: The only downside of his match-altering ace against Matt Kuchar? It didn’t come on one of the two par 3s that awards a Cadillac.


LOSERS

Henrik Stenson: The highest-ranked player to lose on Wednesday, but don’t be too surprised – he’s barely touched a club over the past few weeks because of various illnesses.

J-Rose/J-Day: Hey, they’re far from the only players to leave New Orleans with a hangover. They face must-win matches on Day 2.  

Victor Dubuisson: Probably the only player in the field who wishes this event was still in Tucson. He got rolled, 5 and 4, after 14 birdie-less holes Wednesday.

Adam Scott: The struggle is real – he made only one birdie and got blown out by a player (Francesco Molinari) with a nagging wrist injury.

Poults: Can’t knock his incredible Ryder Cup mark, but his record in this event no longer scares anyone – he’s staring at his fourth early exit in the past five years. His match against Webb Simpson was so rough, he refused to accept a ride to the clubhouse and stomped down the 18th fairway by himself.

WGC-Match Play buzz: The best Wednesday in golf was replaced by a sleepy slate of uninteresting matches with few fans, little excitement and a lot of confusion amongst players about the round-robin format. Let’s hope the weekend is worth it.