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Peter Hanson overcomes back woes at Match Play

Thursday - 2/21/2013, 9:50pm  ET

Hunter Mahan lines up a putt on the 14th green while playing Matteo Manassero in the first round during the Match Play Championship golf tournament, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, in Marana, Ariz. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

AP Sports Writer

MARANA, Ariz. (AP) -- Peter Hanson welcomed the snow storm that suspended play Wednesday just before he was scheduled to tee off against Thomas Bjorn in the Match Play Championship.

It gave him a chance to nail Ian Poulter with a snowball and, more importantly, provided an extra day of rest and treatment for a bulging disk in his back that had him thinking about withdrawing.

"I actually changed beds, almost slept on the floor to get it a bit stiffer, a bit harder, to keep it in place," the Swede said Thursday after his 3-and-2 victory over Bjorn. "I put one of these wood boards underneath the mattresses and took the top mattress off, so it made it really firm. I think that helped a little bit. Still a bit stiff in this cold weather, didn't start great."

The bulging disk flares up two or three times a year.

"It's quite often when I've done it that I'm traveling and whatever bed I might have been sleeping in or whatever exercise I've done in the gym," Hanson said. "We're just trying to figure out exactly what makes it flare up, but I think the margin from the disk to the nerve is very, very small, so that's why I get it a few times a year. And luckily it hasn't been too often over the last couple years.

"I kind of squat down a little bit at impact because I get a little bit of impingement when I make the turn. I try to tell the brain, 'It's not a problem.' But the signal is there and it just makes the body protect it a bit, so it's a bit stiff and it's a bit blocked up. Hopefully, I'll get a bit more treatment now and try and get it one step better tomorrow."

Hanson will face U.S. Ryder Cup rival Webb Simpson in the second round. Last year in Europe's victory over the United States at Medinah, Simpson and Bubba Watson beat Hanson and Paul Lawrie 5 and 4 in the opening fourball matches.

"It would be nice to get some revenge," Hanson said. "He's a great guy. We're very good friends."

Simpson advanced with a 5-and-4 victory over England's David Lynn.


WINTER WONDERLAND: Matt Kuchar's sons got exactly what they wanted Wednesday when snow blanketed Dove Mountain.

"Two years ago I was playing on Sunday in the consolation match and my family was here," Kuchar said Thursday. "I've got two young boys and they thought that snow was the coolest thing. It was pretty heavy snow in the morning and then the sun came out and melted it pretty quickly, but it was fun to see just a pretty good snow covering.

"My boys came back last year and they said, 'When is it going to snow? We want it to snow again.' I said, 'We're in Tucson, it's not going to snow.' They remembered again this year. 'When is it going to snow? Is it going to snow?' I said, 'No, it's not going to snow here.'"

It did.

"They loved it," Kuchar said. "We had a good time making snow angels and having all sorts of fun with the kids yesterday afternoon."

Kuchar parred the 15th and 16th holes Thursday when play resumed to finish off Hiroyuki Fujita 3 and 2, then played the final two holes by himself for practice.

"A hole and a half wasn't quite enough to justify all the time and practice I put in this morning, so I played 17 and 18 just to keep going," Kuchar said.

Kuchar will play Sergio Garcia in the second round. Garcia needed 20 holes to beat Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee.


WEATHER FORECAST: Morning frost is expected the rest of the week, with overnight lows around 34 on Friday, 32 on Saturday and 38 on Sunday.

Friday is expected to be partly cloudy with a high of 56. Saturday will be the best day of the tournament with mostly sunny conditions and a high of 63. On Sunday, it is expected to be partly cloudy and breezy with a high of 58.

After snow Wednesday, the course was soggy Thursday when play resumed.

"The course being wet, it makes everything a bit more accessible," long-hitting Nicolas Colsaerts said after beating Bill Haas 5 and 4. "You're going to hit a lot of fairways because they're pretty wide and the ball is going to finish pretty much where it lands. It's pretty much throwing darts if you're on."

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