Match-by-match results: WGC-Dell Day 2

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 25, 2016, 12:26 am

Play is once again underway at the WGC-Dell Match Play, as 64 players take on Austin Country Club with hopes of advancing out of pool play. Follow along here to see how the second day of matches played out, and who is in line to advance to the Round of 16:

Group 1: (1) Jordan Spieth def. (39) Victor Dubuisson, 5 and 4: The tournament's top seed still hasn't broken a sweat. After an easy opening win, Spieth cruised once again over the Frenchman, winning three of the first five holes to improve to 2-0 while Dubuisson dropped to 1-1.

Group 1: (51) Jamie Donaldson def. (31) Justin Thomas, 2 up: Thomas held a lead for much of the match, but Donaldson won three holes from Nos. 12-15 to take control of the match. He improves to 1-1, while Thomas faces an early exit after an 0-2 start.

Group 2: (2) Jason Day def. (36) Thongchai Jaidee, 5 and 3: Day was the afternoon's biggest question mark after hobbling through his opening match, but he piped a 381-yard drive on the opening hole and appeared no worse for wear. Day moved to 2-0, moving within reach of the knockout stage, while Jaidee dropped to 1-1.

Group 2: (23) Paul Casey vs. (62) Graeme McDowell, halved: For the second straight day, McDowell saw an early lead go for naught. The Ulsterman held a 2-up advantage through 14 but Casey won two of the next three to square the match. Both players moved to 0-1-1 with the draw, eliminating their chances of advancing.

Group 3: (3) Rory McIlroy def. (46) Smylie Kaufman, 3 and 1: McIlroy played from behind for the second straight match, as Kaufman had a 1-up lead through 12 holes. But McIlroy won each of the next three holes and won the match when Kaufman opted to concede on No. 17 rather than attempt a tying chip-in.

Group 3: (26) Kevin Na def. (64) Thorbjorn Olesen, 3 and 2: Na won four of the first six matches and cruised from there, eliminating Olesen (0-2) and setting up a winner-take-all match Friday with McIlroy.

Group 4: (4) Bubba Watson def. (33) Emiliano Grillo, 2 up: This was a close match through nine holes, but Watson took control on the inward half. A birdie on No. 18 sealed the win for Watson, who is 1-0-1 while Grillo sits at 1-1.

Group 4: (21) J.B. Holmes vs. (63) Patton Kizzire, halved: Kizzire stole a half-point for the second straight day. Holmes appeared in command, leading 4-up with six to play, but the rookie roared back and forced a tie with a birdie on 18 - just like he did to Watson. Kizzire now sits at 0-0-2, while Holmes is 0-1-1.

Group 5: (5) Rickie Fowler vs. (47) Scott Piercy, halved: Fowler let a half-point get away here, as Piercy made a remarkable escape on No. 16 to remain 1 down, then watched as Fowler put his wedge on No. 17 into the hazard. The result is Piercy's second draw of the week, while Fowler moves to 0-1-1 and retains a slim shot at advancing.

Group 5: (27) Byeong-Hun An def. (58) Jason Dufner, 2 up: An earned a full point with a furious rally down the stretch, winning four of the final five holes of the match after Dufner had built a 2-up lead. At 1-0-1, An now holds the top spot in the group while Dufner still has a chance to advance with a win over Piercy.

Group 6: (6) Adam Scott def. (41) Chris Wood, 3 and 2: Scott let one slip away in his opening match, but he finished the job Thursday against the Englishman to get his first victory in this event since 2010. Scott moved to 1-0-1, while Wood fell to 0-2.

Group 6: (30) Bill Haas def. (55) Thomas Pieters, 4 and 2: Haas was only 1-up through 10 holes, but he turned it on down the stretch to drop Pieters to 0-1-1. Haas moved to 2-0 to take lead in the group, but faces a decisive match against Scott.

Group 7: (7) Justin Rose vs. (48) Anirban Lahiri, halved: This was quite an escape for Rose, as the Englishman never led in the match and Lahiri was 2-up with two holes to play. But Rose won No. 17 with a par and made a clutch birdie on No. 18 to square the match and move to 1-0-1.

Group 7: (28) Matt Kuchar vs. (57) Fabian Gomez, halved: This was a back-and-forth affair, as Gomez was 1-up through 15 and Kuchar was 1-up through 17. It ended in a draw, effectively eliminating Gomez (0-1-1) and setting up a decisive match between Kuchar (1-0-1) and Rose.

Group 8: (8) Dustin Johnson def. (37) Kiradech Aphibarnrat, 5 and 4: Johnson took out his frustrations from an opening loss on the Thai, building a 3-up lead after just four holes. Aphibarnrat cut into his deficit, but Johnson clinched the match with four straight wins on Nos. 8-11.

Group 8: (22) Jimmy Walker def. (49) Robert Streb, 4 and 3: Like Johnson, Walker was able to avenge an early loss as he won six of the first 13 holes. This result leaves all four players in the group with identical 1-1 records heading into Friday's matches.

Group 9: (9) Patrick Reed def. (42) Matthew Fitzpatrick, 4 and 3: Reed was in command the entire way, building a 3-up lead through 10 holes, as Fitzpatrick's struggles continue. Reed improved to 2-0 while Fitzpatrick, at 0-2, can no longer advance.

Group 9: (17) Phil Mickelson def. (53) Daniel Berger, 1 up: Mickelson led for much of the match, but things were all square on 18 when Berger whiffed his approach shot after hitting a rock, banged his hand against said rock and promptly conceded. It sets up a winner-take-all match Friday.

Group 10: (40) Billy Horschel def. (10) Danny Willett, 3 and 2: Horschel knocked off the group's top seed, and kept alive his hopes of advancing. The match stood all square through 12 holes before Horschel won three out of four, moving to 1-1 and eliminating Willett, who fell to 0-1-1.

Group 10: (18) Brooks Koepka def. (50) Jaco Van Zyl, 5 and 4: Koepka won three of the first five holes en route to an easy victory, as Van Zyl won only a single hole on the day. At 2-0, Koepka is in great position to advance while Van Zyl will be heading for the exits after Friday's match.

Group 11: (11) Branden Grace def. (38) David Lingmerth, 4 and 3: Grace rebounded from a surprising loss in his opening match, winning the first two holes and leading the entire rest of the way. The South African improves to 1-1, while Lingmerth drops to 0-1-1.

Group 11: (32) Russell Knox def. (54) Chris Kirk, 2 and 1: Kirk won three of the first four holes of the match, but Knox battled back, turning the tide with wins on Nos. 9-11 that transformed a 1-down deficit into a 2-up lead. At 1-0-1, Knox is the only player in the group without a loss, while Kirk fell to 1-1.

Group 12: (52) Rafael Cabrera-Bello def. (20) Kevin Kisner, 4 and 3: Cabrera-Bello led the entire match, and he closed things out with a 70-foot bomb on No. 15. It was the second straight win for the group's lowest-ranked player, as Cabrera-Bello needs to make the quarterfinals to qualify for the Masters but is halfway to achieving that goal.

Group 12: (12) Hideki Matsuyama def. (43) Soren Kjeldsen, 4 and 2: Kjeldsen struggled from the outset, as the Dane failed to make a single birdie while Matsuyama won five of the first seven holes. Matsuyama still has a chance at 1-1, while Kjeldsen's chances are over at 0-2.

Group 13: (45) Ryan Moore def. (13) Sergio Garcia, 1 up: Moore edged Garcia in a closely-contested match where the Spaniard never led. Moore chipped in for birdie on No. 17 to keep the match tied, then earned a full point with a birdie on the last. He now has the top spot in the group with a 1-0-1 record.

Group 13: (59) Lee Westwood def. (25) Marc Leishman, 1 up: Leishman held a slim advantage for most of the front nine, and he was 1-up through 11 holes. But Westwood won three of the next four holes to take command, and the win moved Westwood to 1-1 while Leishman dropped to 0-1-1 and now cannot advance.

Group 14: (14) Zach Johnson def. (44) Martin Kaymer, 8 and 6: Johnson lost the opening hole, and then basically won the rest. It was a rough day for Kaymer, who dropped to 1-1, while Johnson improved to a relatively stress-free 2-0.

Group 14: (24) Shane Lowry vs. (60) Marcus Fraser, halved: Lowry held a 3-up lead at the turn before a furious rally from Fraser, as the Aussie managed to take a lead for the first time after 17 holes. But Fraser bogeyed No. 18 to allow Lowry to snag a half-point, although at 0-1-1 both players saw their chances of advancing evaporate.

Group 15: (19) Charl Schwartzel def. (56) Charley Hoffman, 3 and 2: Schwartzel won three of the first six holes to build an early lead, but Hoffman managed to square the match through 12 holes. Schwartzel won three of the next four to close things out, moving to 2-0 and eliminating Hoffman.

Group 15: (15) Brandt Snedeker vs. (34) Danny Lee, halved: Snedeker earned a half-point, but he essentially let one get away after blowing a 2-up lead through 15. Lee finished birdie-par-birdie, and now Snedeker must defeat Schwartzel in the group's final match in order to advance.

Group 16: (16) Louis Oosthuizen def. (35) Bernd Wiesberger, 2 and 1: Oosthuizen continued his stellar play, as he never trailed while improving to 2-0. Wiesberger won only two holes during the match, and at 0-2 has officially been eliminated.

Group 16: (29) Andy Sullivan def. (61) Matt Jones, 3 and 1: Jones got off to a quick start, winning two of the first three holes, but Sullivan won four of the next six to take a lead he wouldn't relinquish. Jones dropped to 0-2, while Sullivan (2-0) will face Oosthuizen to determine the group's winner.

Def. champ Fitzpatrick grabs lead at Euro finale

By Associated Press, Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 1:50 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick shot a second straight 5-under-par 67 to secure a one-stroke lead halfway through the European Tour's season-ending Tour Championship on Friday.

At 10 under after two rounds on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estate, Fitzpatrick leads English compatriot Tyrrell Hatton, whom he beat by one shot to win the title last year.

Hatton moved into contention with a brilliant 9-under 63, a round soured only by a closing bogey on the par-5 18th hole.

In the Race to Dubai, main protagonists Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose experienced contrasting emotions to their opening rounds. Fleetwood boosted his chances by rising into a tie for 11th at 6 under after a 65. Rose endured a three-putt bogey on the 18th to finish with a 70, and dropped on the leaderboard so he's just two shots ahead of Fleetwood.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Order of Merit, stayed in contention by adding a 69 to his opening 70 to be one shot behind Fleetwood.

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Fleetwood needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Fitzpatrick made two bogeys but eagled the 14th, and five birdies contributed to his 67.

Overnight leader Patrick Reed is now three back following an even-par 72. Reed is in the field thanks to a European Tour regulation that allows the Presidents Cup to count as an official event, thus allowing him to meet his quota of tournaments played.

Fitzpatrick was helped immensely also by the 18th, where Hatton, Rose, and Reed all made bogeys. Fitzpatrick birdied the hole for a second straight day with a 25-foot putt.

''I said to my caddie, we were putting really, really well all week so far,'' Fitzpatrick said.

''The thing is, you get so many fast putts around here, even uphill into the green, they are still running at 12, 13 (on the stimpmeter) even. You've just got to be really sort of careful. Every putt is effectively a two-putt. You've got to control your pace well and limit your mistakes, because it's easy to three-putt out here.''

Rose, hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey, was disappointed with his finish despite playing solid golf from tee to green.

''To make six (on 18) just ends the day on the wrong note, but other than that, I played really well on the back nine,'' Rose said.

''I was aware of the scores and who had done what today. But listen, halfway stage, I'd probably have signed up for that if somebody said on Wednesday you would be in this position after two rounds. It's a position you can build on the weekend.''

Fleetwood resurrected his chances of winning the Order of Merit with a 65, eight shots better than his opening round. His only bogey of the day came on the seventh after an errant drive, but that was the only mistake on a solid day that saw him make eight birdies.

Fleetwood spent hours on the putting green after his first round.

''I needed a low one today for (a tournament win and the Order of Merit),'' he said. ''Luckily, I got a good score.''

Closing eagle gives Kirk 1-shot lead in RSM

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 12:16 am

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Chris Kirk holed an 18-foot putt for eagle on his final hole for a 9-under 63 and a one-shot lead Thursday in the RSM Classic.

Kirk played the par 5s on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club in 5 under.

''I kind of hit my putter on the fringe a little bit and I wasn't sure it was going to get there, but that was just kind of the day that it was,'' Kirk said. ''Even when I thought it wasn't quite going to work out, it still went in the middle of the hole.''

The seven lowest scores of the opening round came on the Plantation Course during a picturesque afternoon on the Golden Isles. Sporting a University of Georgia hat Thursday, Kirk won at Sea Island four years ago for the second of his four PGA Tour victories.

''It's a big Georgia territory out here on St. Simons,'' Kirk said. ''Hopefully, my hat will bring me some luck the rest of the week.''

The tournament is the final PGA Tour event of the calendar year, and Kirk is sorting out equipment changes.

''I'm still trying to get it all worked out and figure out what I want to do going forward,'' Kirk said. ''But keep shooting 9 under, so I won't have to worry about it too much.'

Joel Dahmen had a 64.

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''I think it played a little easier today,'' Dahmen said. ''The wind was down, greens were a little softer over here on the Plantation side. But just kept the ball in front of me and made a bunch of 8- to 10-footers.

''I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

Sea Island resident Hudson Swafford was at 65 at the Plantation along with Jason Kokrak and Brian Gay.

''I feel like I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

He played alongside fellow former Georgia players Bubba Watson and Brian Harman.

''We are right in the heart of Dawgs' territory, mine and Harman's backyard, so it's kind of nice,'' Swafford said.

Though, his caddie wore an Auburn shirt.

''We don't need to talk about that,'' said Swafford, not needing to be reminded that Auburn beat Georgia in football last week.

Nick Watney and Brice Garnett each had a 5-under 65 on the Seaside Course, which will be used for the final two rounds.

Brandt Snedeker opened with a 67 in his first return from a sternum injury that sidelined him since the Travelers in June.

Harman shot 69, and Watson had a 71.

Co-leader Smith credits Foley's influence

By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:33 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sarah Jane Smith is making the most of the devoted efforts of Sean Foley this week.

Foley’s prize pupil, Justin Rose, is in the hunt at the World Tour Championship in the United Arab Emirates, looking to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, but Foley isn’t there with him.

Foley promised to help Smith this week, and he’s living up to the pledge, making the trip to Naples.

“At 33, Sarah is in her prime,” Foley told “She is going to hold a trophy at some point. She is too skilled not to win.”

Foley's extra attention is paying off for Smith.

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With a 6-under-par 66, Smith moved into early contention to make her first LPGA title memorable at the CME Group Tour Championship. She’s tied for the first-round lead with Taiwan rookie Peiyun Chien.

“I just seem to play my best with him,” Smith said.

Foley, the former coach to Tiger Woods, was No. 10 in Golf Digest’s Top 100 teacher rankings released this fall.

Foley sees a lot coming together in Smith’s game. She is a 12-year veteran building some momentum. She tied for third at the Women’s Australian Open earlier this year and is coming off three consecutive top-15 finishes in Asia. She is sixth on tour in birdies this season. 

“As a coach, you try to get a player to see something in themselves that is already there,” Foley said.

Rose, by the way, opened with a 6-under-par 66 in Dubai and is one shot off the lead.

Seeking awards sweep, Park 1 off lead

By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:03 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park made a strong start in her bid to make LPGA history with an epic sweep of the year’s major awards.

Park opened the CME Group Tour Championship Thursday with a 5-under-par 67, moving her a shot off the lead.

Park is looking to join Nancy Lopez as the only players to win the Rolex Player of the Year and Rolex Rookie of the Year awards in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park has already clinched the Rookie of the Year Award.

Park, 24, can also walk away with the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Race to the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot.

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Nobody has ever swept all those awards.

There’s even more for Park to claim. She can also take back the Rolex world No. 1 ranking. She’s No. 2, just two hundredths of a point behind Shanshan Feng.

“I think the course suits my game really well,” Park said through a translator. “I think I can play well in the next rounds.”

Park played the course just once before Thursday’s start, in Wednesday’s pro-am.

The reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion, Park won twice this year. She also won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open this summer.