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Top seed Stricker exits in Arizona

Ross McGowan (left) shakes hands with top seed Steve Stricker after beating him on the first extra hole.
Ross McGowan (left) shakes hands with top seed Steve Stricker after beating him on the first extra hole.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Top seed Steve Stricker beaten in first round of WGC-Accenture World Match Play
  • World number 66 Ross McGowan of England claims his scalp on 19th hole
  • Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington also goes out in first round
  • Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are skipping tournament in Arizona
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(CNN) -- Top seed Steve Stricker crashed out in the first round of the WGC-Accenture World Match Play Championship in Arizona to unheralded Englishman Ross McGowan on Wednesday.

McGowan rolled home a 30-foot par putt on the first extra hole to shock the world number two who has been in superb early season form on the PGA Tour.

McGowan only made it into the elite 64-strong draw when Tiger Woods decided against making his comeback at the tournament.

Ironically, the day was dominated by the news that world number one Woods was about to speak for the first time since taking an indefinite break from golf after revelations about his private life.

Tiger to break public silence on Friday

Woods' decision to delay his comeback, which is now expected next month ahead of the U.S. Masters at Augusta, elevated Stricker to top seed and it is only the second time in the history of the tournament that the highest ranked player has made a first round exit.

Elsewhere, defending champion Geoff Ogilvy of Australia made a superb start to his campaign with a 7&5 thrashing of Sweden's Alexander Noren, while British Open champion Stewart Cink of the USA beat Italian Edoardo Molinari on the 18th after coming from four down.

Cink welcomed the news that Woods was set to emerge from his self-imposed exile.

"It will be good to see Tiger's face again and see that he's actually out there somewhere," he told the official PGA Tour Web site.

It will be good to see Tiger's face again and see that he's actually out there somewhere
--Stewart Cink

"We haven't really known much. I think this is maybe the beginning of the comeback process for him," he added.

Meanwhile, Molinari's brother Francesco also lost as he was beaten on the 21st by another American star Zach Johnson.

Ryo Ishikawa, the 18-year-old from Japan, made a stunning debut as he took the final three holes for a two-up win over Michael Sim of Australia.

Another young golfing gun, Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy came back from an early deficit to defeat American Kevin Na on the final green, while Lee Westwood of England, the top seed in his quarter of the draw, beat compatriot Chris Wood 3&1.

But there was a shock exit to for three-time major winner Padraig Harrington at the hands of Jeev Milka Singh of India, 3&1.

As well as Woods, world number three Phil Mickelson also skipped the event to be with his wife Amy, who is battling breast cancer.