MARANA, Ariz. -- Luke Donald won't be playing the 18th hole at Dove Mountain this year, either.
Donald, so dominant in winning the Match Play Championship last year that he closed out every match before the 18th hole, became only the third No. 1 seed to lose in the opening round Wednesday in another predictably crazy day on Dove Mountain.
Ernie Els, who got into the 64-man field only when Phil Mickelson took his family on a ski vacation, delivered the biggest shocker in the first round with a 5-and-4 victory.
"I don't think it would have mattered who I played. I just didn't play well," Donald said. "I struggled. I gave away too many holes and made too many mistakes. You can't do that in match play against anyone, let alone Ernie."
Tiger Woods nearly found that out against Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.
Woods had to play left-handed in one of his three journeys into the desert. He trailed the Spaniard with four holes to play, and both of them looked beatable. That changed when Woods drove the par-4 15th green to win with a two-putt birdie, won the 16th with a par and then closed out the Spaniard with an 8-foot par putt for a 1-up win.
"We both made our share of mistakes, there's no doubt about that," Woods said. "But somehow, I was able to move on."
In the most thrilling match of the opening round, Jim Furyk was on the verge of sending Dustin Johnson home early for the fourth straight year when Johnson hit his tee shot into the desert and had to take a penalty drop on the 20th hole. Furyk chipped across the green and three-putted for bogey to lose.
Bill Haas looked like a winner when he was 1 up on the 17th green and had a 5-foot birdie putt. Ryo Ishikawa holed from 18 feet, Haas missed, and the Japanese star made par on the 18th to win.