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.

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Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.