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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Aggressiveness pays off for Spieth vs. Schwartzel

By Rex HoggardMarch 21, 2018, 9:32 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – On Tuesday, Jordan Spieth said he hoped this week’s format would free him up and allow him to play more aggressively.

Although that wasn’t the case early in his Day 1 match against Charl Schwartzel, Spieth was able to get his week off to a solid start with a 2-and-1 victory.

After playing his first nine holes in even par, Spieth moved ahead in the match when Schwartzel made bogey at the par-5 12th hole and the American hit his approach at the par-4 13th hole to 3 feet, a shot he said was “pivotal,” and he added another birdie at the 14th hole to pull away.

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

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“I had a couple of iffy numbers and some swirly winds. I did not play aggressively,” Spieth said of his opening nine. “Once I got a couple numbers where I could put really nice, solid swings on, zeroed in at the target with no worry about anything else around, I did just that and it led to three or four birdies from the eighth hole on. You have to go at flagsticks to make birdies here.”

The early victory puts Spieth on a collision course with Patrick Reed, who also won his first-day match against HaoTong Li, 3 and 2. Spieth and Reed, who are a combined 7-2-2 when teamed together in the Ryder and Presidents Cup, will play each other in the final day of round-robin play on Friday.

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List takes Thomas to 18 putting with a wedge

By Rex HoggardMarch 21, 2018, 7:57 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – As he walked off the sixth tee on Wednesday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Luke List “swiped” his putter into what he thought was a bush. It was a wall.

List’s putter bent slightly, which meant he wasn’t allowed to employ it the rest of the round. Using a wedge to putt, he lost his opening-day match to Justin Thomas, 2 down.

“Stupid on my part,” List said. “I'll get the club fixed and go on to my next two matches.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

Despite his putting disadvantage, List pushed Thomas to the 18th hole thanks to birdies at Nos. 13, 15 and 16, which included a chip-in from 18 feet at 15. Thomas was 3 up with four holes to play and managed to birdie the last, but it was far from stress-free.

“I was thinking about it, how bad that would hurt if I couldn't get it done,” Thomas said. “He hit some great putts and he made some good ones when he needed to.”

The situation also prompted Thomas to change his strategy on the greens, with not nearly as many conceded putts as normal.

“He putted probably two or three putts I wouldn't have made him putt with a putter,” Thomas said. “[No. 13] was a short putt he's probably going to make. It had a lot of break. But 12, that putt was 2 feet straight uphill. But I was like he's got a wedge, so I'm going to make him putt it.”

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Group standings at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 21, 2018, 7:45 pm

Here are the group standings for pool play at the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship in Austin, Texas. The player with the most points in each pool advanced to Saturday's Round of 16 in Austin, Texas. Click here for scoring and click here for the bracket.

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
(1) D. Johnson: 0-1-0 (2) J. Thomas: 1-0-0 (3) J. Rahm:  (4) J. Spieth: 1-0-0
(32) K. Kisner: 0-0-1 (21) F. Molinari: 1-0-0 (28) K. Aphibarnrat (19) P. Reed: 1-0-0
(38) A. Hadwin: 0-0-1
(48) P. Kizzire: 0-1-0 (43) C. Reavie (34) H. Li: 0-1-0
(52) B. Wiesberger: 1-0-0
(60) L. List: 0-1-0 (63) K. Bradley (49) C. Schwartzel: 0-1-0
Group 5 Group 6 Group 7 Group 8
(5) H. Matsuyama: 1-0-0 (6) R. McIlroy: 0-1-0 (7) S. Garcia (8) J. Day: 1-0-0
(30) P. Cantlay: 0-1-0
(18) B. Harman (20) X. Schauffele (25) L. Oosthuizen: 1-0-0
(46) C. Smith: 1-0-0 (44) J. Vegas (41) D. Frittelli (42) J. Dufner: 0-1-0
(53) Y. Miyazato: 0-1-0 (51) P. Uihlein: 1-0-0 (62) S. Sharma (56) J. Hahn: 0-1-0
Group 9 Group 10 Group 11 Group 12
(9) T. Fleetwood: 0-1-0 (10) P. Casey (11) M. Leishman: 0-1-0 (12) T. Hatton: 1-0-0
(26) D. Berger: 0-1-0 (31) M. Fitzpatrick (23) B. Grace: 0-1-0 (22) C. Hoffman: 0-1-0
(33) K. Chappell: 1-0-0 (45) K. Stanley (35) B. Watson: 1-0-0 (36) B. Steele: 1-0-0
(58) I. Poulter: 1-0-0 (51) R. Henley (64) J. Suri: 1-0-0 (55) A. Levy: 0-1-0
Group 13 Group 14 Group 15 Group 16
(13) A. Noren: 1-0-0 (14) P. Mickelson: 0-1-0 (15) P. Perez: 0-1-0 (16) M. Kuchar: 0-0-1
(29) T. Finau: 1-0-0 (17) R. Cabrera Bello (24) G. Woodland: 0-1-0 (27) R. Fisher: 0-1-0
(39) T. Pieters: 0-1-0 (40) S. Kodaira (37) W. Simpson: 0-1-0 (47) Y. Ikeda: 1-0-0
(61) K. Na: 0-1-0 (59) C. Howell III: 1-0-0 (50) S.W. Kim: 0-1-0 (54) Z. Johnson: 0-0-1
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Hot Seat: The driver is burning Tiger

By Randall MellMarch 21, 2018, 6:51 pm

The men’s first major championship of the year is two weeks away, the women’s just a week away.

Here’s our Hot Seat lineup with the approach of the Masters and the ANA Inspiration in mind:

Smoking carbon composites – Tiger Woods

Woods is the betting favorite to win the Masters in most sportsbooks, and while his game is coming together quickly, he won’t be the experts’ pick without getting his driver under control.

The driver looks like the last piece Woods needs to once more become the favorite wherever he goes.

Right now, though, there’s an open wound that needs to be cauterized before he heads to Augusta National.

That double-cross Woods blew into someone’s backyard along the 16th hole Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational came from a reservoir of uncertainty that his driver continues to create. 

Woods has come a long way with his driver. When he pulls it out of the bag, it isn’t like he’s ripping a bandage off anymore, not the way it was three and four years ago. Still, he doesn’t pull that club with the same relish Rory McIlroy does, or Dustin Johnson and Jason Day, for that matter. Physically and psychologically, they’ve got an advantage on him until he does. 

Woods did not qualify for this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship, so he’s got extra time to address his biggest shortcoming.

“Project No. 1 over the next two weeks is going to be the driver,” Golf Channel’s Notah Begay said earlier this week. “Tiger has to focus in on trying to find some way to navigate Augusta National with the driver, because it’s a course that’s going to force you to hit driver.”

Dustin Johnson at the 2018 WGC-Mexico Championship.

Smoldering Tex Mex Tango – Dustin Johnson

The world No. 1 is playing just fine enough since his victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions at year’s start. He’s just been overshadowed by the brilliance of a lot of fellow stars.

With McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Justin Thomas all winning in the last month, with Woods stepping up his game, Johnson has been quietly toiling toward the Masters.

Johnson has won 10 times since Woods' last victory, and yet Woods is the 8-to-1 favorite to win the Masters.

Johnson, McIlroy and Thomas are listed at 10-to-1 by the Westgate Las Vegas SportsBook.

It doesn’t rankle Johnson.

“It’s fine with me,” he said Tuesday. “He’s playing pretty well.”

Even as the defending champ this week at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas, Johnson isn’t center stage, not with McIlroy marching into town off his dominant finish at the API.

Flying relatively under the radar might seem like a comfortable position for a world No. 1, but he won’t stay atop the world rankings for long flying under the radar.

Shanshan Feng during Round 2 at the 2017 Japan Classic.

Rolex Ranking Roast – Shanshan Feng

The women’s Rolex world No. 1 enters the week at the Kia Classic trying to hold off a strong field with the ANA Inspiration looming next week.

The top seven players in the world rankings, and 11 of the top 12, are at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad, California.

Feng has quietly reigned atop the world rankings for 19 consecutive weeks, holding off bids to overtake her by No. 2 Lexi Thompson, No. 3 So Yeon Ryu and No. 4 Sung Hyun Park.

They’ve all been close enough in world ranking average this year to take the top spot, but Feng isn’t backing down. She’s winless so far this this year, but she has finished fifth or better in two of her three starts.