Phil Mickelson took an early lead in his tussle with Zach Johnson as the Americans got the second round of the World Golf Championships - Accenture Match Play under way at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club near Tucson.
Mickelson had needed 19 holes to get past Argentina’s Angel Cabrera in the opening round having let slip a four hole lead over the back nine. Against Johnson, a first round winner over Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, he moved in front on the opening hole before the 2007 Masters Tournament champion levelled with a birdie at the par three third.
Mickelson, winner of last week’s Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, then regained the lead with a birdie three at the fourth.
Mickelson did not increase his lead until the par five 11th hole, when Johnson bogeyed the 659 yard monster and he went three up at the next hole as his rival bogeyed the par three 12th.
Lee Westwood, the first of six Englishmen in the last 32 out on the course, was a hole down after five holes to American Stewart Cink, last year’s runner-up, who took the lead with a birdie at the par five second hole.
Westwood recovered to all square with Cink at the 13th hole while fellow Englishman Paul Casey got off to a flying start against Australia’s Mathew Goggin, taking a 3 up lead after seven holes.
The Ryder Cup rivals from last year Oliver Wilson and Anthony Kim were involved in an early see-saw clash with American Kim drawing first blood with a birdie at the opening hole.
Both players birdied the second but England’s Wilson, who with Henrik Stenson came from four holes down to beat Mickelson and Kim in foursomes at Valhalla last September, got back to all square with a birdie at the par three third, while Kim bogeyed.
Wilson opened a 2 up lead over Kim after ten holes with birdies at the eighth and ninth while Justin Leonard held a similar advantage over fellow American Davis Love III having played 11 holes.
Vijay Singh and Luke Donald were all square after six holes while Ernie Els was one up on Steve Stricker after five.
Colombia’s Camilo Villegas - in Woods’ bracket of the draw - was once again showing some hot form as he took a 4 up lead over Spain’s Miguel Angel Jiménez in the first five holes and he had held that lead through eight holes.
Woods got his match under way with an almost identical tee shot to the previous day’s, finding the fairway on his way to a par four and a halved hole with Clark.