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Halved matches keep more players in Match Play mix

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AUSTIN, Texas – Fans were deprived of some free golf Wednesday: Six matches were halved during the opening round of the WGC-Dell Match Play.

Last year, that would have resulted in sudden-death playoffs that could have stretched deep into the afternoon. This time, players shook hands on the 18th green and walked away with a half-point.

Thomas Pieters was 2 down with three to play against red-hot Adam Scott, but won both 16 and 17 with birdies to halve the match.

WGC-Dell Match Play: Full coverage | Bracket

“We both played some good golf,” he said. “I think a half is good for today.”

The other top seeds who halved their matches Wednesday were Bubba Watson and Danny Willett.

The decision not to go extra holes should help keep more players in the mix for Friday’s third round of pool play. It also cuts down on the number of holes they will play during what is already a long week.

“I like it this way,” said Russell Knox, who halved his match with David Lingmerth. “It’s always nice to play to a winner as well, but I don’t really feel like playing more golf right now.”