Rory McIlroy tops Scottie Scheffler in star-studded Consolation match
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Current FedExCup champion emerged with 2-and-1 victory
Written by Staff @PGATOUR
Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy squared off Sunday afternoon at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. It was the match that golf fans were waiting for, two top-three players battling wits in the oft-electric match-play format at Austin CC.
It just didn’t come under the expected circumstances. Each surrendered a 2-up lead in their respective Semifinal matchup, giving way to a Sam Burns-Cameron Young match in the Championship, won by Burns, 6 and 5.
So Scheffler and McIlroy competed in the Consolation match at Austin CC, still battling for position, FedExCup points and prize money. The duo still attracted an ample portion of crowd attention, and the golf was good – 10 birdies and an eagle. McIlroy emerged with the 2-and-1 victory, perhaps highlighted by an eagle 3 at the par-5 12th that featured a 420-yard drive and 18-foot putt.
Rory McIlroy sinks eagle putt to go 2-up at WGC-Dell Match Play
The match also marked the final competitive reps for Scheffler and McIlroy before the Masters Tournament in two weeks. Scheffler readies to defend his title at Augusta National, while McIlroy takes aim at the elusive career Grand Slam.
They’ll be two of the betting favorites at Augusta National, two players who relish the target on their back. They expect to win, and they expect to be in the conversation. Their competitive DNA is such that even though they had been eliminated from title contention as they traversed Austin CC on Sunday afternoon, their focus and attention to detail didn’t waver.
After all, any extra edge could prove useful as they turn their attention to the season’s first major championship.
“For both Scottie and I, if we’re both playing this well, fast forward to a couple weeks’ time, two Sundays from now, it’s probably not bad preparation,” McIlroy said on Sunday afternoon. “More likely than not, one of us is probably going to be in contention going into that final round, so to play a round like this is incredibly helpful.
“A little place in Augusta, Georgia … rest, recover, refuel. I’m going to maybe go up there for a day and mess around. I was already up there last week. Don’t think there’s any harm in going up there again … I think my game’s in really good shape, so keep it ticking over and work on the shots that I need for Augusta National, and away we go.”
McIlroy is fully aware of the hype train surrounding his pursuit of the career Grand Slam, as he readies for his 15th Masters appearance. The four-time major champion has recorded 11 top-25s at Augusta, and he’s coming off a career-best runner-up finish there last spring, where he closed in 8-under 64, including a memorable hole-out birdie from a greenside bunker on the 72nd hole.
McIlroy, encouraged in seeing improved play off the tee at Austin CC, looks to solve Augusta once and for all. Then there’s Scheffler, who won last year’s Masters in just his third appearance and looks to become the first to defend a green jacket since Tiger Woods in 2001 and 2002.
“As the week went on, I just felt like I was hitting putts more and more solid,” Scheffler said Sunday. “So I have a couple things to work on before Augusta, but definitely plenty of confidence going in.”
Neither McIlroy nor Scheffler saw their desired outcome Sunday afternoon in Austin, but perhaps that script will flip amidst the loblolly pines.