Match-by-match: WGC-Dell Technologies, Day 2

By Ryan LavnerMarch 23, 2017, 11:30 pm

Here is how things played out on Day 2 of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, as 64 players take on Austin Country Club with hopes of advancing out of pool play:

Group 1: Dustin Johnson (1) def. Martin Kaymer (41), 3 and 2: Coming off a 5-and-3 opening-round victory, DJ remained in good form against Kaymer, building a 4-up lead through seven holes and cruising to the finish line. Johnson needs only a half point Friday to advance to the knockout stage. 

Group 1: Jimmy Walker (18) def. Webb Simpson (58), 3 and 2: Walker stayed alive by leading the entire way against Simpson, who is eliminated after dropping to 0-2 for the week. Walker had a 1-up lead on 13 tee, but his par there was enough to build a comfortable cushion down the stretch. To advance to the weekend, Walker must beat Johnson in his match Friday, then again in a head-to-head playoff.   

Group 2: Rory McIlroy (2) def. Gary Woodland (33), conceded: Woodland withdrew before the start of the match because of a family emergency. McIlroy is now 1-1, but was already eliminated with Soren Kjeldsen improving to 3-0. A tough break, as he was 4 under in his match Wednesday and lost. 

Group 2: Soren Kjeldsen (62) def. Emiliano Grillo (26), 4 and 3: Kjeldsen became the second player to punch his ticket to the knockout stage after rallying on the back nine to take down Grillo. With a guaranteed victory Friday against Woodland, Kjeldsen is 3-0 and now has the day off to prepare for his Round of 16 match. 

Group 3: Lee Westwood (43) def. Jason Day (3), conceded: Westwood had a day off after Day withdrew from the event Wednesday to be with his ailing mother, who will undergo lung-cancer surgery on Friday. Westwood now has a 1-1 record. 

Group 3: Pat Perez (56) def. Marc Leishman (28), 2 and 1: After an early day Wednesday because of Day’s withdrawal, Perez went deep into the back nine with the Bay Hill winner. Perez won the 14th with par to take a 1-up lead and added another won hole after Leishman whiffed a 5-footer. At 2-0, Perez is in the best position to advance. 

Group 4: Ross Fisher (47) def. Hideki Matsuyama (4), 2 and 1: Fisher (1-1) jumped out to a 3-up lead through four holes, but he needed to bury a 12-foot birdie putt on 16 just to maintain a 1-up advantage into the final two holes. He rolled in a 15-footer for birdie on 17 to drop Matsuyama to 0-1-1 for the week (now eliminated). 

Group 4: Louis Oosthuizen (23) def. Jim Furyk (51), 3 and 2: Furyk won three holes in a row on Nos. 11-13 to hand Oosthuizen his first career loss in pool play. Oosthuizen, last year’s finalist, has a 14-4 record in this event since 2014. Furyk leads the way in the group, with 1 ½ points. 

Group 5: Jordan Spieth (5) def. Yuta Ikeda (37), 4 and 2: After a stunning loss in the opening round, Spieth was never threatened and played solidly enough in the toughest conditions of the afternoon to take care of Ikeda. At least now Spieth has given himself a chance to play the weekend, if he can defeat Ryan Moore outright and get some help. 

Group 5: Ryan Moore (32) vs. Hideto Tanihara (54), halved: There were eight lead changes, but no winner. Both Moore and Tanihara made birdie on the last to halve the match. Tanihara leads the group with 1 1/2 points, but Spieth and Moore both have one point.

Group 6: Kevin Na (46) def. Justin Thomas (6), 4 and 2: Despite a huge distance gap off the tee, Na turned an all-square match through eight holes into a comfortable margin of victory, winning Nos. 9, 13, 15 and 16. Na has some unfinished business, after becoming the only player to earn 2 ½ points last year and not advance to the weekend. 

Group 6: Matthew Fitzpatrick (27) def. Chris Wood (49), 4 and 2: With his lead trimmed to only 1 up through 12 holes, the tidy Englishman won two holes in a three-hole span to put away Wood, who dropped to 0-7 in this event.

Group 7: Sergio Garcia (7) def. Kevin Chappell (38), 4 and 3: The result of this one was never in doubt, after Garcia won the first four holes. He never led by fewer than two holes as he dropped Chappell to 0-2. Now with 1 ½ points, Garcia needs at least a halve against fellow Spaniard Jon Rahm on Friday to stay alive. 

Group 7: Jon Rahm (21) vs. Shane Lowry (53), 2 and 1: Playing his first Match Play, Rahm is in control of his own fate after pulling away late from Lowry and improving to 2-0 for the week. All Rahm needs Friday is a halved match against Garcia to advance to the Round of 16. 

Group 8: Alex Noren (8) def. Bernd Wiesberger, 3 and 2: Noren became the first player to clinch his Round of 16 berth after Molinari withdrew and conceded his Friday match. Noren took a 4-up lead through six holes and never looked back. He won’t play again until Saturday. 

Group 8: Thongchai Jaidee (57) def. Francesco Molinari (25), 5 and 3: Jaidee (1-1) grabbed a 6-up lead at the turn despite only playing the front nine in 2 under par. Molinari later withdrew from the event because of a wrist injury.

Group 9: Kevin Kisner (34) def. Patrick Reed (9), 2 up: Kisner gave up a narrow lead when he missed a 5-footer on 16, but he came back with a two-putt par to win the 17th and held on for an important victory that will give him a chance to advance Friday against Koepka. Reed (0-1-1), one of the pre-tournament favorites, has now been eliminated. 

Group 9: Brooks Koepka (20) def. Jason Dufner (59), 6 and 5: It’s back-to-back blowouts for Koepka (2-0), who hadn’t entered the week playing well but now seems to be building off his impressive performance at last year’s Ryder Cup, where he went 3-1 in his debut. After halving the first four holes, Koepka took the next three, then added wins on 9, 10 and 11 on his way to a lopsided result. 

Group 10: Tyrrell Hatton (10) def. Jeunghun Wang (40), 2 up: The Englishman had an early 2-down deficit, but he won three holes in a row before the turn and held on to put away the rising star from South Korea. Hatton buried a 12-foot birdie on 18 for good measure, improving to 2-0. 

Group 10: Charles Howell III (61) def. Rafa Cabrera Bello (22), 1 up: After kicking away his opening-round match, Howell blew another lead against Bello, shanking his bunker shot into the hazard on 17 to square the match. But he redeemed himself on the final hole, chipping to tap-in range for a closing birdie. 

Group 11: Bill Haas (42) def. Danny Willett (11), 6 and 5: Haas (1-1) had little trouble with the reigning Masters champion, winning three consecutive holes on the front nine and then blowing out the match with wins on the 10th and 12th holes. The struggles continue for Willett, who now has been eliminated.  

Group 11: K.T. Kim (64) def. Russell Knox (17), 3 and 1: Kim, the last-ranked player in the field, improved to 2-0 after making four birdies in the first seven holes to take a 4-up lead. Kim needs only to halve his match Friday to advance. 

Group 12: Paul Casey (12) def. Byeong Hun An (45), 1 up: The Englishman never trailed, and 15-footers on 14 and 16 gave him enough breathing room to escape with a full point and face a winner-take-all match Friday against Schwartzel.  

Group 12: Charl Schwartzel (24) def. Joost Luiten (60), 4 and 3: After blowing out a listless Ben An in the opener, Schwartzel took advantage of another out-of-form opponent Thursday, winning five holes in a six-hole span around the turn for an easy day at the office. At 2-0, he will have a winner-take-all match against Casey. Schwartzel is now 7-1 in pool play. 

Group 13: Bubba Watson (13) def. Scott Piercy (39), 4 and 3: Watson (2-0) carried over the momentum from his opening-day victory with an impressive takedown of Piercy in which he never trailed. One up after the sixth hole, Watson birdied back-to-back holes and never let up on the back nine. 

Group 13: Jhonattan Vegas (55) def. Thomas Pieters (30), 3 and 1: Vegas (1-1) birdied the first hole and never looked back against Pieters, whose ball-striking was so good Wednesday that he never trailed in his opening match despite failing to make a putt longer than 4 feet. He wasn’t as sharp Thursday, playing the first 15 holes in even par, including the usual match-play concessions.

Group 14: Phil Mickelson (14) def. Daniel Berger (35), 5 and 4: Mickelson improved to 2-0 with a wild victory over Berger, halving holes with bogeys and even a double bogey. Lefty made three birdies early to take a big lead, then kept Berger at bay in the windy afternoon conditions. He has never made it past the quarterfinals in 12 previous tries.

Group 14: J.B. Holmes (31) vs. Si Woo Kim (63), halved: Holmes looked like he had finally pulled away, after winning the 17th with a par and leaving only 40 yards for his approach into 18. But he hit a mediocre pitch shot, and Kim hit the flagstick with his bunker shot for a short birdie. A half point didn’t do them any good – they’re both eliminated, with Mickelson already with two points.  

Group 15: William McGirt (48) def. Branden Grace (15), 2 up: Clinging to a narrow lead, McGirt chipped in from behind the 16th green for par to maintain a 1-up advantage with two holes to play. He then made a 6-footer for par on 17 to close out the match and improve to 2-0. 

Group 15: Brandt Snedeker (19) def. Andy Sullivan (52), 2 and 1: With a new putter in the bag and windy conditions, Snedeker (1-1) second-guessed himself on the greens but was still good enough to roll past the Englishman, taking the 10th and 12th holes to build a cushion. Sullivan has been eliminated. 

Group 16: Zach Johnson (44) def. Matt Kuchar (16), 2 up: A tight match throughout, Johnson’s two-putt par on 15 gave him the advantage he needed, then he drove the 18th green for good measure. He improved to 1-1 on the week. 

Group 16: Brendan Steele (50) def. Tommy Fleetwood (29), 1 up: Back and forth on the back nine, both players squandered a 2-up lead. The Englishman battled back with a birdie on 16 and par on 17 to square the match, but Steele sank a 7-foot birdie putt on the final hole to take the match. With 1 ½ points, Steele leads the group.  

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.