Match-by-match: WGC-Dell Technologies, Day 3

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 24, 2017, 9:45 pm

Here is how things played out on Day 3 of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, as 16 players advanced to the single-elimination portion of the event. Click here to view the pool standings and click here for the full bracket.

Group 1: Dustin Johnson (1) def. Jimmy Walker (18), 5 and 3: The world's best is playing like it. He still has yet to trail after a single hole this week and was 6 up through seven holes today. He went 3-0-0. Walker went 1-2-0.

Group 1: Martin Kaymer (41) def. Webb Simpson (58), 3 and 2: Simpson double bogeyed the first hole and never recovered. He went 0-3-0 this week. Kaymer was a respectable 2-1-0. But no one in the group could match DJ.

Group 2: Soren Kjeldsen (62) def. Gary Woodland (33), conceded: Woodland withdrew prior to the start of Day 2, citing a family emergency. The victory moved Kjledsen to 3-0-0 in pool play and also moved him into Round of 16 match play.

Group 2: Rory McIlroy (2) vs. Emiliano Grillo (26), halved: No one won in a match in which neither could advance. McIlroy went 2-1-0. Grillo was 0-2-1.

Group 3: Marc Leishman (28) def. Jason Day (3), conceded: Day withdrew from the event on Wednesday to be with his mother, who is battling lung cancer and underwent surgery on Friday. Leishman moved to 2-1-0.

Group 3: Lee Westwood (43) def. Pat Perez (56), 2 and 1: All square though 11 holes, Westwood won Nos. 12 and 13, and then held on for the win. Both men finished at 2-1-0 and joined Leishman in a stroke-play, sudden-death playoff.

Playoff: After a trio of pars at the first, Leishman birdied the second hole from 12 feet to advance.

Group 4:  Louis Oosthuizen (23) def. Hideki Matsuyama (4), 6 and 4: It was an awful week for Matsuyama, who went 0-2-1. Oosthuizen went 2-1-0.

Group 4:  Ross Fisher (47) def. Jim Furyk (51), 4 and 2: Despite a Furyk fairway hole out, Fisher got the better of the U.S. Ryder Cup captain. Fisher went 2-1-0 to advance to a playoff with Oosthuizen.

Playoff: Fisher birdied the second extra hole to knock out last year's runner-up.

Group 5: Hideto Tanihara (54) def. Yuta Ikeda (37), 3 and 1: Tanihara defeated his countryman and advanced to the Round of 16, having defeated Jordan Spieth on Day 1.

Group 5: Jordan Spieth (5) vs. Ryan Moore (32), halved: Once Tanihara finished out ahead of him, this match was meaningless for Spieth. He finished 1-1-1, while Moore halved all three of his matches.

Group 6: Matthew Fitzpatrick (27) def. Justin Thomas (6), 2 and 1: Fitzpatrick was in trouble through 13 holes, but birdied Nos. 14-17 to turn a 2-down deficit into a 2-and-1 win. Thomas needed to win to have a chance to advance, but he's now out. Fitzpatrick finished 2-1-0.

Group 6: Chris Wood (49) def. Kevin Na (46), 2 and 1: Na was in great shape to advance, leading 4 up through seven holes. But he then fell apart, losing seven of his next eight. He finished at 2-1-0. Wood at 1-2-0.

Playoff: Na nearly holed his approach shot on the first hole of sudden death. His birdie won the playoff and pushed him through to pool play.

Group 7: Jon Rahm (21) def. Sergio Garcia (7), 6 and 4: The score says it all as Rahm ran roughshod over his Spanish compatriot. Rahm won the group with a perfect 3-0-0 record.

Group 7: Kevin Chappell (38) def. Shane Lowry (53), 1 up: Chappell won No. 16 with a birdie and No. 18 with a par to get his first win of the week. He finished 1-2-0. Lowry was 0-2-1.

Group 8: Alex Noren (8) def. Francesco Molinari (25), conceded: Molinari lost, 5 and 3, to Thongchai Jaidee on Thursday and then withdrew from the tournament, citing a wrist injury. At 0-2-0, he was already elimated from match play. Noren, at 3-0-0, advances to the weekend.

Group 8: Bernd Wiesberger (36) def. Thongchai Jaidee (57), 1 up: Strong showing for Wiesberger, who birdied his final two holes to turn a 1-down deficit into a victory. He went 2-1-0 on the week. Jaidee was 1-2-0.

Group 9: Brooks Koepka (20) def. Patrick Reed (9), 1 up: Koepka had not been playing well. Reed was a Ryder Cup hero. But it's the former who goes 3-0-0 and the latter who fails to win a match, going 0-2-1.

Group 9: Kevin Kisner (34) def. Jason Dufner (59), 2 and 1: With nothing to play for but pride (and FedEx Cup points!), Kisner prevailed. He went 2-1-0 this week. Dufner, 0-2-1.

Group 10: Rafa Cabrera Bello (22) def. Tyrrell Hatton (10), 2 and 1: The two were all square through 12 holes, before the Spaniard won Nos. 13 and 15. They both finished at 2-1-0.

Group 10: Charles Howell III (61) def. Jeung-Hun Wang (40), 2 and 1: Howell was in control throughout this match, never trailing. By finishing 2-1-0, he made it a three-man, stroke-play playoff.

Playoff: Howell won on the fourth extra hole. Hatton was eliminated on the first hole when he accidentally caused his ball to move and did not replace it before tapping it in. He was assessed a two-stroke penalty.

Group 11: Danny Willett (11) def. Russell Knox (17), 4 and 2: The top two seeds in the group had no chance of advancing. The Masters champ salvaged his week, sort of, with an easy win over the Scot. Both men finished 1-2-0.

Group 11: Bill Haas (42) def. K.T. Kim (64), 4 and 2: Kim just needed to halve this match in order to advance, but Haas pulled away on the back nine, making birdie on three of his final five holes. They both finished pool play 2-1-0 and headed to a sudden-death playoff.

Playoff: Haas chipped in on the second hole to stay alive and surived a couple of Kim misses, thereafter, to win. Haas eventually prevailed with a birdie on the sixth hole.

Group 12: Paul Casey (12) def. Charl Schwartzel (24), 4 and 3: Casey continued to show he's a match-play stalwart beating previously undefeated Schwartzel. Casey finished 3-0-0 and is off to single elimination.

Group 12: Joost Luiten (60) def. B.H. An (45), 1 up: In a battle of winless players, Luiten birdied the last to avoid the shutout.

Group 13: Bubba Watson (13) vs. Thomas Pieters (30), halved: Watson needed at least a half-point to advance and that's what he got. He was the only player in his group to get two wins.

Group 13: Jhonattan Vegas (55) vs. Scott Piercy (39), 3 and 1: Vegas had a good week, going 2-1-0. But it wasn't enough to top Bubba. Piercy, meanwhile, took the bagel, going 0-3-0.

Group 14: Phil Mickelson (14) def. J.B. Holmes (31), 6 and 5: Mickelson easily advanced through pool play, going 3-0-0. He only made two birdies on Friday, but throttled an off-form Holmes, who never won a hole and finished 0-2-1.

Group 14: Si-Woo Kim (63) def. Daniel Berger (35), 1 up: No one led by more than 1 up in this match, but it was Kim who finished with that advantage. Kim went 1-1-1 and Berger finished 1-2-0.

Group 15: Brandt Snedeker (19) def. Branden Grace (15), 5 and 4: The easy victory bumped Snedeker's record to 2-1-0, but he was still eliminated because of his loss to William McGirt on Day 1.

Group 15: William McGirt (48) def. Andy Sullivan (52), 1 up: McGirt capped off a perfect pool-play session, going 3-0-0. He advanced, while Sullivan lost all three of his matches this week.

Group 16: Matt Kuchar (16) def. Tommy Fleetwood (29), 4 and 2: The top seed in this group was only 1 up through 13 holes, but won Nos. 14-16 with birdies. He finished 1-1-1. Fleetwood went 0-2-1.

Group 16: Zach Johnson (44) def. Brendan Steele (50), 1 up: In the final match of the day, Johnson lost a 2-up lead with three to play, only to win the 18th with a par. He advanced to the Round of 16 with a 2-1-0 record. Steele went 1-1-1.

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.