VIRGINIA WATER, England — U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen was the only winner on a rainy opening day of the World Match Play Championship at Wentworth on Thursday, beating Jeff Maggert by a record 12 and 11.
Goosen's margin of victory exceeded the previous record in the 36-hole matches of 11 and 10, when Mark O'Meara beat Vijay Singh in the second round in 1998.
Because of a 2 1/2-hour rain delay at the start of the day, seven of the eight matches were suspended by darkness with the players still on the course, including defending champion Ernie Els. The South African recovered from a morning deficit to lead Scotland's Scott Drummond 2-up with two holes to play.
Top-ranked Singh trailed European Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Langer by two holes after 26, while England's Lee Westwood led British Open champion Todd Hamilton of the United States 3-up after 29 holes and Argentina's Angel Cabrera led K.J. Choi of South Korea 1-up after 33.
Three matches were all square: Ireland's Padraig Harrington against American Chris Riley after 32, Canadian Mike Weir and Frenchman Thomas Levet also after 32 and Spain's Miguel Jimenez against Steve Flesch of the United States after 26.
The seven matches were to be completed Friday morning before the start of the second-round contests.
Goosen, seeking a sixth title at the World Match Play, birdied two of the first four holes and three of the last four in shooting a 7-under 65 while Maggert bogeyed six on the front nine.
"I birdied the second to go one up and played really solid from there. But Jeff didn't play his best as I know he can," Goosen said.
Without losing a hole, Goosen was 10 up after 18 and claimed his 12th birdie of the day on the 25th hole to win the match.
"I've been struggling with my putting the last few weeks but I read the greens quite well and putted really well for a change," he said.
Maggert left the club quickly after his defeat without comment.
Els hooked his drive and lost the first hole of the day to Drummond, who shot 64 to beat Els and win the British PGA on the same West Course in May.
Els trailed all morning but reduced the deficit to one hole with a birdie at the 18th. Then he won the 20th and 21st in the afternoon with birdie putts of 6 and 10 feet to move in front.
He chipped in for eagle at the 22nd hole, the 457-yard (454-meter), par-4 No. 4, but Drummond matched that after his approach stopped 2 feet from the flag.
Els led 3-up twice but bogeyed the 33rd and lipped out a putt on the 34th that would have won him the match.
With darkness falling, Els turned to the referee and said: "OK, that's it. I'm off home," and walked into his house just off that green.
CHRYSLER CLASSIC: At Greensboro, N.C., Jason Dufner pointed to last week as evidence anything can happen on the PGA Tour. He hopes to prove it again. Mired in an awful rookie season, Dufner shot a 7-under 65 Thursday to match his best round of the year and take a one-shot lead after the first round of the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro. He has missed the cut in 15 of 26 tournaments.
Brent Geiberger, Tom Pernice Jr., Bo Van Pelt, Brendan Pappas and Brett Quigley all had 66s Thursday and 12 players were another stroke back. That group included Justin Rose, who had a hole-in-one on the par-3 17th.
Defending champ Shigeki Maruyama had a 68, as did U.S. Amateur champion Ryan Moore.
SAMSUNG WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: At Palm Desert, Calif., Grace Park capped an almost flawless round by rolling in a 25-foot birdie putt for a 10-under 62 Thursday that gave her a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Samsung World Championship. Scores were low on the opening day of the tournament, with Park's the best in the tournament's 24-year history. The event is being played for the first time at Bighorn Golf Club, the 13th course used for the tournament.
Sixteen of the 20 players in the field broke par.
Catriona Matthew had a 64, while three-time champion Annika Sorenstam was tied at 66 with defending champion Sophie Gustafson, Lorena Ochoa and Cristie Kerr. Amateur Michelle Wie, who turned 15 on Monday, played with Sorenstam and shot a 74.