Wednesday, 23 March 2016
Charl Schwartzel  (Getty Images)
Charl Schwartzel (Getty Images)

Charl Schwartzel made an encouraging start in his hunt for a third European Tour title of the season by taking an early lead against Danny Lee at the WGC-Dell Match Play.

The South African has not finished outside the top 20 in four events so far this term and claimed wins on home soil at the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the Tshwane Open.

The attention this week switches to match play as 64 of the top 66 players in the Official World Golf Ranking battle it out for the second World Golf Championships title of the season, and Schwartzel was two up after nine holes against New Zealander Lee.

A birdie on the second moved the 2011 Masters champion ahead and while Lee levelled things up on the next, birdies on the fifth, sixth and ninth cancelled out another Lee gain on the eighth.

In the other Group 15 match, Charley Hoffman was one up through 11 holes against Brandt Snedeker.

Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello was also off to a fast start as he birdied the second and fourth to go two up against Hideki Matsuyama with seven holes played.

Dane Søren Kjeldsen, also in Group 12, was two down against Kevin Kisner after six holes.

Graeme McDowell was taking on second seed Jason Day in Group 2 and he was one down at the turn. The Northern Irishman had been two up after four holes but Day birdied the fifth, eighth and ninth.

Thongchai Jaidee is also in Group 2 and he was all square with Paul Casey after eight holes.

Ryder Cup veterans Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood were going head-to-head in Group 13 with the Spaniard one up after four holes, with Marc Leishman one up against Ryan Moore with two holes played.

In Group 5, Byeong-hun An was one down after five holes against Scott Piercy, while Jason Dufner was one up against Rickie Fowler a hole ahead, and Patrick Reed birdied the first to lead Daniel Berger in Group 9.

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