February 21 2013
MARANA, Ariz. -- Marcus Fraser says he has a tendency to get down on himself. On Thursday, though, in a tight match with Keegan Bradley, the Aussie "backed" himself and came out with the upset win.
Neither player led more than 1 up during the match, and Fraser got the edge when it counted most, draining a 27-footer for birdie and a 1-up lead at the 17th hole. When he and Bradley both bogeyed the 18th hole, Fraser, who was ranked 13th in the Hogan bracket, had the surprise victory.
"I knew it was going to be obviously a tough match," Fraser said. "Keegan is a major winner and Ryder Cup player, so he's used to match play. Down the stretch he's probably one of the best in the game.
"It wasn't the prettiest match. ... But as I said before, it's match play, you can play really well and get rolled or you can play average and hang in there. And that's what I did today, hung in there and made a nice putt on 17, which really helped. ... I just backed myself. That was the difference."
Neither player played particularly well -- Fraser shot 2 over and Bradley was 4 over after holing a shot from the ninth fairway for eagle and making six bogeys. Fraser plays Fredrik Jacobson in the second round.
"I'm probably the shortest player here this week, but that doesn't worry me," Fraser said. "... I've been used to that for the last 11 years playing in Europe, I'm usually first to hit, so sometimes that's a good thing in match play, first to hit, try and stick one nice and close to put them under the pump. There is a positive to being short, and I might have found it in match play today."