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February 21 2012

12:20 AM

Tiger’s foe: ‘I think he’s beatable’

By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM

MARANA, Ariz. -- When Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano found out that his opening-round foe at this week's World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship was Tiger Woods, the first words out of his mouth were not "Oh, no!" but rather ...

"Oh, yes," the Spaniard said Monday. "It's a great opportunity."

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Fdez-Castano
While respectful of Woods' track record as a three-time champion in this event, as well as his stature as a golf legend, Fernandez-Castano nevertheless will enter Wednesday's match (12:35 p.m. ET) confident that his best will be good enough to beat Woods.

"I think he's beatable,” Fernandez-Castano said. "Of course, I need to play good. That's all I can think about and that's all I'm going to try on Wednesday, just try playing my best game and hope that he doesn't play his best."

Fernandez-Castano has five wins on the European Tour, including the 2011 Barclays Singapore Open, the highlight of his comeback after taking more than six months off with a back injury. Ranked 48th in the world, the Spaniard didn't expect that Tiger would be his first-round foe.

But Woods' fall in the rankings -- he's a fifth seed this week, his worst seeding in this event, and is ranked 20th in the world -- means Fernandez-Castano gets the first crack at the upset.

"I'm the underdog," he said. "I have nothing to lose. And at the same time, I don't think he's at his best. ...

"I've never played with Tiger before, not even on a stroke-play event. I just want to go out there. For me, it's a big privilege. If I win, fantastic. If I lose, well, I've lost to one of the best players of golf in history."

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