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February 21 2013

4:49 PM

Rd. 1: Mahan def. Manassero, 5 & 4

MARANA, Ariz. -- Hunter Mahan opened defense of his World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship crown by knocking off Italian teen Matteo Manassero, 5 and 4, in the first round.

Mahan now faces South African Richard Sterne in the second round of the Player bracket.

Mahan, a sixth seed, handed Manassero, an 11th seed, his first first-round loss in three career appearances in this event. Mahan was 4 up through nine holes before play was halted on Wednesday. He opened Thursday with bogeys on his first two holes, with Manassero winning the 11th hole with a par.

But Manassero could never find his game. In the 14 holes he played, Manassero suffered eight bogeys while failing to record a birdie. Mahan, meanwhile, had just one birdie but was still happy with his play.

"I felt like I let some holes kind of slip away that I should have done better on," Mahan said. "But all in all, I feel good about how I played and how I'm swinging. I've just got to keep it up."

Mahan has now won nine of his last 10 matches in this event.

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