Johnson rallies past Furyk for first Match Play victory

Former Coastal Carolina golfer Dustin Johnson claimed his first career victory in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on Wednesday in Marana, Ariz., but it didn’t come easily.

Johnson battled from behind all day before forcing extra holes against PGA Tour veteran Jim Furyk and defeating him on the 20th hole of the round.

Johnson twice had to find his way out of the desert, including on the final hole of the day, and overcome a pair of penalty strokes to put Furyk away.

Johnson, who entered the tournament 0-3 in first-round matches, advances to the second round against Francesco Molinari in the second round at 10:25 a.m. Thursday.

In other first round action, Tiger Woods posted a one up victory over Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano on Wednesday in the opening round.

Woods, who won the event in 2003, 2004 and 2008, rallied from two down after two holes to end the encounter with an eight-foot par putt at the 18th hole.

Top seed and defending champion Luke Donald dropped a 5 & 4 decision to late-entry Ernie Els. The Brit made several mistakes and was done in by the South African’s birdie putt on the 14th hole.

Els made the tournament after Phil Mickelson withdrew to spend time with his family.

Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, South Korean Bae Sang-moon, World No. 3 Lee Westwood and fourth-ranked Martin Kaymer were also victorious.

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