Early Winners Qualifying for Match Play


2007- WGC-AccentureMARANA, Ariz. -- Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - With victories at the Mercedes-Benz Championship, Sony Open in Hawaii and the European Tours Joburg Open, Swedens Daniel Chopra, Koreas K.J. Choi and South African Richard Sterne each, respectively, made moves within the top 64 in the Official World Golf Ranking and are currently qualified for the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. The Accenture Match Play Championship features the top 64 players in the world squaring off in a rare match-play competition at The Gallery Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz., February 18-24.
Chopra, one of the hottest players on the PGA TOUR at the end of the 2007 season, defeated PGA TOUR Comeback Player of the Year Steve Stricker on the fourth playoff hole. Before the start of the Ginn sur Mer Classic at Tesoro, the second-to-last fall season event in 2007, the 34-year-old Swede ranked No. 202 on the Official World Golf Ranking. After his victory that week, Chopra moved up to No. 141 and earned a spot in this years Mercedes-Benz Championships field. By the end of 2007, Chopra had nearly cracked the top 100, finishing at No. 102. With his victory to start the season - combined with a T32 finish at last weeks Sony Open in Hawaii - Chopra has moved to 60th in the world. Chopra has never played at the Accenture Match Play Championship, but with his strong start to the season is well on his way to making his debut.
K.J. Choi won for the fourth straight season on the PGA TOUR, joining Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh as the only players with active streaks of that length. Choi won twice in 2007 with wins at The Memorial, hosted by Jack Nicklaus and at the AT&T National, hosted by Tiger Woods.
'But just winning both events, all I can say is that I have a lot of respect for both players, and to be able to win in their tournaments is just -- I can't even express in words, Choi told reporters after his victory last July.
With his latest victory in Hawaii, Choi moves to no. 7 in the Official World Golf Ranking, likely making him at least a no. 2 seed in one of the four brackets come February.
Sternes playoff-victory, his third career win on the European Tour, came in Johannesburg not far from his Pretoria home. The win moves him to fourth on the European Tours Order of Merit and from 44th to No. 33 in the Official World Golf Ranking. This would also mark Sternes first ever Accenture Match Play tournament.
The top-64 available players from the Official World Golf Ranking released on Monday, February 11, will qualify for this years event as the tournament returns to Arizona for the second year. With the 2008 PGA TOURs Opening Drive beginning today and the European Tour season already under way, players on the bubble will need to fair well early in the year to qualify for this prestigious match-play event.
The Accenture Match Play Championship was held in Arizona for the first time this February. Henrik Stenson captured his first PGA TOUR win by defeating defending champion Geoff Ogilvy 2 and 1 during the 36-hole final round. Stenson collected the $1.35 million first-place prize and the Walter Hagen Cup.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship