Austin: World No. 1 Dustin Johnson and four-time major winner Rory McIlroy suffered surprise defeats on Wednesday as the WGC-Dell Match Play got off to a typically unpredictable start in Texas.
Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, seeded 52nd at the tournament, beat defending champion Johnson 3&1, while Peter Uihlein (57th) defeated McIlroy (sixth) 2&1 at Austin Country Club.
In another surprise, American Julian Suri, the lowest ranked of the 64 men in the field, beat Australia’s world No. 15 Marc Leishman, seeded 11th, 3&2.
McIlroy’s defeat came three days after he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a barnstorming final round.
The Northern Irishman said he had been a “little flat” early on, though rallied late with five consecutive birdies to make it close before a relieved Uihlein closed it out with a par at the 17th.
“I made him earn it at least. I made the scoreline a little more respectable,” McIlroy said.