SAN FRANCISCO – And then there were two.
McIlroy, who had to return to Harding Park at 6:45 a.m. (PT) to complete his delayed quarterfinal match against Paul Casey, traded the lead with Jim Furyk throughout a chilly morning with the two players halving just five holes before the world No. 1 broke late with a 3-foot birdie putt at No. 17 to square the match and a 43-foot, walk-off eagle at the last for a 1-up victory.
“When I went 1‑down on 15, I sort of said to myself I've been in this position before. So I've gained confidence from the previous matches,” said McIlroy, who has gone to the 16th tee in each of his last three matches trailing but managed a victory. “I felt like the last three holes set up well for me, compared to Jim, with my length.”
Woodland, who failed to advance past the first round in his first two stars at the Match Play, was 5 under par through 16 holes to beat England’s Danny Willett, 3 and 2.
“I'm in pretty good control of my game right now. It's obviously been a long week, but I feel pretty good. The body feels good. Hopefully we can maintain that,” said Woodland, who emerged from what many thought was the “group of death” that included Ian Poulter, Webb Simpson and Jimmy Walker.
The final will feature two players who have overpowered Harding Park, with McIlroy averaging 296 yards off the tee this week and Woodland coming in just behind him with a 287-yard average.