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Road to the final: How Watson, Kisner got there

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Bubba Watson


(35) Watson def. (23) Branden Grace, 5 and 3: Watson was absolutely unstoppable in the biggest rout of the day. The two-time Masters champ made seven birdies over his first nine holes, making the turn with a 6-up advantage. Grace never stood a chance.


(35) Watson def. (11) Marc Leishman, 3 and 2: Coming off an impressive opening victory, Watson erased an early deficit, then won Nos. 12-14 to put away Leishman, who is now eliminated. Watson is guaranteed at least a playoff Friday.


(35) Watson vs. (64) Julian Suri, halved: Needing just a half-point to advance, but two down with two to go, Bubba stuffed his tee shot on 17, then hit his driver pin-high on the home hole. After Suri couldn’t get up-and-down for birdie, Watson sank his 8-footer for the halve. It's the second consecutive year in which Watson has won his group.

Day 4 - ROUND OF 16

(35) Watson def. (18) Brian Harman, 2 and 1. Watson was 1 down going to the eighth hole, but he won four of the next five holes to turn around this battle of lefties. A 12-foot putt for eagle at the 12th dropped, giving him a 3 up lead coming home. It was Watson’s second eagle of the day. He looks as if he’s still riding the confidence from that Genesis Open victory last month.


(35) Watson def. (28) Kiradech Aphibarnrat, 5 and 3. This was a tight match until Aphibarnrat’s short game failed him on the back nine, with a chunked chip at the 10th, a clumsy pitch at the 12th and a heavy heavy pitch at the 13th helping Watson win four consecutive holes. Watson played his way into the semifinals of this event for the second time in his career. He ended up fourth in 2011.


(35) Watson def. (2) Justin Thomas, 3 and 2: This was a match that had Thomas' full attention as a win would have allowed him to overtake Dustin Johnson as the new world No. 1, but Watson never let him off the mat. The southpaw won the opening hole and three of the first six, capping his opening run with an eagle on the par-5 sixth. Thomas won two of the next three holes to trim the deficit heading into the back nine, but he never quite seemed comfortable as Watson won Nos. 10 and 12 to pad his advantage. Thomas couldn't get a few mid-range putts to drop down the stretch, and a par from Watson on the 16th hole was good enough to advance to the championship match as he looks to win for the second time in the last five weeks.

Kevin Kisner


(32) Kisner vs. (38) Adam Hadwin, halved: This was a tight one throughout, as neither player held more than a 1-up lead. Kisner held a lead for much of the back nine, but Hadwin birdied the 17th to draw even and the match was halved when they both made par on the final hole.


(32) Kisner def. (52) Bernd Wiesberger, 5 and 4: Kisner made three consecutive birdies midway through the front nine to set the tone, then kept the pressure on Wiesberger, who knocked off DJ on Wednesday, to earn the full point and stay in the mix to advance.


(32) Kisner def. (1) Dustin Johnson, 4 and 3: Already eliminated, the defending champion went 0-3 this week after yet another an uninspiring performance, this time against Kisner. DJ did turn heads, however, with a 489-yard drive on the 12th hole that would have been a Tour record (by 13 yards!) if statistics counted at the Match Play.


(32) Kisner def. (16) Matt Kuchar, 1 up. Kuchar applied all kinds of pressure on Kisner on the back nine, but he couldn’t get Kisner to fold in the best match of the day. Kuchar was 2 down with four to go but managed to pull all square going to the last. After missing a 15-footer for birdie at the 18th, Kuchar watched Kisner sink a 12-footer for his birdie to win.


(32) Kisner def. (58) Ian Poulter, 8 and 6. Poulter gift wrapped Kisner an early 2-up lead, and Kisner pounced after that. Poulter, who was on such a torrid run until meeting Kisner, three-putted to lose the third hole with a bogey and then pulled his tee shot deep in a hazard to lose the fourth hole. Kisner birdied the fifth and sixth holes to race to a 4-up lead. Poulter had no answers. After making eight birdies in the morning Round of 16 , Poulter didn’t make a birdie against Kisner.


(32) Kisner def. (13) Alex Noren, 19 holes: This turned out to be one of the best-played matches of the entire week, as neither player held more than a 1-up lead and four straight holes on the front nine were all halved with birdies. Kisner took an early advantage before Noren drew even with a birdie on No. 7, his fifth in a row. Noren took his first lead of the match with a par on No. 8, but Kisner answered with an eagle on the par-5 12th and the two men remained deadlocked for the rest of regulation. Noren missed an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 18 that would have closed out the match, then opened the door for Kisner with a poor eagle putt on the first extra hole that barely stayed on the green. After Noren missed his comeback attempt, Kisner rolled in a 5-foot birdie putt to win the match and set up an all-Georgia Bulldog final with Watson. Noren, who lost in a playoff at Torrey Pines and finished third at Honda, once again falls just short of his first PGA Tour win and will face Thomas in the consolation match.