WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Day 2 recaps, scenarios
March 23, 2017
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- March 23, 2017
- Phil Mickelson won his second straight match in Group 14, beating Daniel Berger. (Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR)
AUSTIN, Texas -- Here are the match recaps for Thursday's Day 2 of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play. Ths file will be updated throughout the day as matches are completed at Austin Country Club.
The 61 players in the field (after Jason Day's WD on Wednesday and WDs by Gary Woodland and Francesco Molinari on Thursday) are competing in three rounds of group play, then the 16 group winners will advance to single-elimination play starting Saturday.
DUSTIN JOHNSON (1), USA def. MARTIN KAYMER (41), Germany .. 3 and 2
The world's top-ranked player was in control once again, rolling in three birdie putts over the first seven holes to grab a 4-up lead. With the winds picking up as the match progressed, Johnson was able to throttle back and force Kaymer to be the aggressor. A 7-foot eagle on the 12th appeared to give the German a spark, but he gave it back on the next hole, rinsing his approach shot from 102 yards. Johnson would make birdie three holes later, on the par-5 16th, to end the match.
Said Johnson: "Yeah, it was windy. You weren't really hitting full shots. It was all — you're playing the wind. Played very tough out here today. Tee shots, approach shots, putts, chips, it wasn't very easy, that's for sure."
JIMMY WALKER (18), USA def. WEBB SIMPSON (58), USA ... 3 and 2
Windy conditions kept the birdies to a minimum in this match. Walker was even-par for the day — two pars and two birdies — when the match ended on the 16th hole. Simpson went 1-down with a bogey on the 2nd hole and found himself in an even deeper hole when he added another bogey on the 9th to go 3-down at the turn. He managed to trim Walker's lead to 1-up with an 8-footer for birdie on the 12th, but a string of three straight bogeys on the next three holes proved to be the difference.
Said Walker: "It felt like a struggle for both of us, I think, and it was just probably the conditions, I think, for both of us. But it played tough today, it really did. So it felt like a battle, more than let's go make some birdies and let's try and top each other."
Friday's schedule: Johnson vs. Walker; Kaymer vs. Simpson
Scenarios: Johnson can clinch with a win or halve, and is guaranteed a playoff even if he loses. If Walker and Kaymer win, then it's a three-man playoff. If Walker wins and Kaymer doesn't, then it's a Johnson-Walker playoff. Simpson has been eliminated.
SOREN KJELDSEN (62), Denmark def. EMILIANO GRILLO (26), Argentina ... 4 and 3
Kjeldsen booked his place in the Round of 16 with a win that assured him all three points after Gary Woodland withdrew. The Dane didn't make it easy on himself early on, going 2-down in the first two holes. Kjeldsen won the next two holes to square the match with Grillo, and then pulled ahead after the turn, winning four straight holes to grab a lead he would never relinquish.
Said Kjeldsen: "Very pleased (to advance). Actually, not happy about Gary and what's going on with Gary. I don't know all the details, but Gary is one of the nicest guys out here. So we wish him all the best."
RORY McILROY (2), Northern Ireland def. GARY WOODLAND (33), USA ... withdraw
Match was not played after Woodland withdrew due to family issues.
Friday's schedule: McIlroy vs. Grillo
Scenarios: Kjeldsen has clinched group win. His two wins and the win he will get credited for Friday (due to Woodland WD) gives him maximum 3 points. McIlroy and Grillo are eliminated.
Soren Kjeldsen's 33-footer for birdie at Dell Match Play
PAT PEREZ (56), USA def. MARC LEISHMAN (28), Australia ... 2 and 1
Leishman, last week's winner at Bay Hill, was unable to secure his place in the final 16 with a win, instead handing control of the group to Perez. The American, also a winner this season in Mayakoba, held steady down the stretch to move to 2-0. Perez sat 2-up through 11 holes before the Australian leveraged a 444-yard drive down the par-5 12th into an eagle and then backed it up to win the 13th and square the match. But back-to-back bogeys on 14 and 15 from Leishman gave Perez the cushion he needed. A lovely lag putt on the 17th sealed the deal.
Said Perez (on Leishman): "He's a world class player. He just won last week. Obviously he's hot. He's tough. He's tough. I knew I was going to have to play really well to beat him and I did. It's a great feeling. Massive performance, I think, on my part today to get that done. I've got one more day to try to get through. I'm just happy about the opportunity."
LEE WESTWOOD (43) def. JASON DAY (3), Australia ... concession
Match not played after Day withdrew on Wednesday. Westwood credited with win.
Friday's schedule: Westwood vs. Perez.
Scenarios: Perez clinches with a win or halve. If Westwood wins, he will force a three-way playoff with Perez and Leishman, who gets an automatic win due to Day WD.
ROSS FISHER (47), England def. HIDEKI MATSUYAMA (4), Japan ... 2 and 1
Englishman Fisher sent the FedExCup leader out of the running for the title with a scrappy win in which both players made mistakes. In tough gusting winds Matsuyama was slow out of the blocks with bogeys on three of the opening four holes. The only birdie for the Japanese star came on the 16th hole, after he’d clawed back to 1 down with the help of some Fisher bogeys. But any thought of a comeback was snuffed out when Fisher stiffed his tee shot on the par-3 17th to 11 feet and buried the birdie for the win.
Said Fisher: "I knew it was going to be tough. I knew Hideki was struggling with his game, I heard. Didn't play particularly well against Jim yesterday, so was kind of hoping that the trend was going to continue and it did. He wasn't at his best today."
JIM FURYK (51), USA def. LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN (23), S. Africa ... 3 and 2
Veteran Furyk took control of the group with a typically grinding win over last year’s runner-up. Steady play, and just one birdie in the blustery conditions through the opening six holes was enough to move 3-up over the South African but Oosthuizen clawed his way back to square the match through 10 holes. However the momentum shifted back to the American at the par-3 11th when Oosthuizen went long and couldn’t get up and down. A phenomenal Furyk shot on the par-5 12th from 262 yards nestled up to 5 feet and won the hole with eagle, then Oosthuizen bogeyed the next hole and was done.
Said Furyk: "It's a mental battle when you go 3-up in a match and it turns back to even. But I didn't really have to deal with that very long. Winning 11, winning 12, winning 13, kind of back to comfortable. And then I just tried to keep the pressure on, fairways, greens."
Friday's schedule: Matsuyama vs. Oosthuizen; Fisher vs. Furyk
Scenarios: Furyk can clinch with a win, or a halve and a Matsuyama win. Fisher can clinch with a win and a Matsuyama win or halve. If Oosthuizen and Fisher win, they will meet in a playoff. If Oosthuizen wins and Furyk halves, they will meet in a playoff. Matsuyama is eliminated.
Jim Furyk wins match with birdie on No. 16 at Dell Match Play
JORDAN SPIETH (5), USA def. YUTA IKEDA (37), Japan ... 4 and 2
Spieth never trailed in keeping his hopes alive to make it out of group play. A terrific tee shot at the par-3 11th set up a tap-in birdie as Spieth went 3 up. He then got up-and-down for birdie at the par-5 12th to match Ikeda. Both players then got into trouble at the 13th, halving the hole with double bogeys -- an indication of how tough the conditions were near the lake.
Said Spieth: "I've got to play better than I did the last two days and I know that. I've just got to have complete trust because why not at this point? It's a win-or-go-home situation. Aggressive swings to the right targets."
RYAN MOORE (32), USA and HIDETO TANIHARA (54), Japan ... halved
Moore and Tanihara shared the spoils, while also maintaining their blemish-free records, in a match that came down to two critical birdie putts on the 18th. Off his upset win over Jordan Spieth, Tanihara hung tough, clawing his way back from a 3-down deficit after 8 holes to square the match on the 12th. The lead would change hands over the next few holes before they arrived at the last all square. Moore converted a 10-footer for birdie to put the pressure on Tanihara, but he was up to the challenge, rolling in his 3-footer to match Moore.
Said Moore: "I hit a great shot in there. I thought he had a tougher yardage and he stuffs it inside me. I had a putt obviously I had to make. I still think I have some life for tomorrow. It's up to Tanihara and Ikeda's match more than anything. At least I have some hope. I can go try and play hard tomorrow and get a point and see what happens."
Friday's schedule: Spieth vs. Moore; Ikeda vs. Tanihara
Scenarios: Tanihara can clinch with a win. If Tanihara halves, then either Spieth or Moore must win to force a playoff. If Tanihara loses, then Spieth or Moore will advance with a win. If Tanihara loses and Spieth-Moore halve, then it's a four-man playoff.
KEVIN NA (46), USA def. JUSTIN THOMAS (6), USA ... 4 and 2
Na has been as steady as any player in the field this week. Through his first 30 holes, he's made just one bogey (in the first match) against six birdies and an eagle. He took the lead for good Thursday with a birdie at the ninth, then won the last two holes with a par at 15 and a conceded hole on 16 when Thomas found trouble off the tee. Na now controls his own fate going into Friday.
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK (27), England def. CHRIS WOOD (49), England ... 4 and 2
Fitzpatrick had three birdies in a five-hole stretch on the front side. The last one from 10 feet gave him the lead for good against his fellow Englishman. Wood had a rollercoaster day, with seven bogeys and four birdies. He was just 1 down after his last birdie at 12, but then made three consecutive bogeys.
Said Fitzpatrick: "It's always difficult playing a friend. Playing on the Ryder Cup team with Woody and play on the Tour weekly with him."
Friday's schedule: Thomas vs. Fitzpatrick; Na vs. Wood
Scenarios: Na clinches with a win or halve, or a Thomas-Fitzpatrick halve. If Na loses, Thomas or Fitzpatrick can force a playoff with a win. Wood is eliminated.
SERGIO GARCIA (7), Spain def. KEVIN CHAPPELL (38), USA ... 4 and 3
Garcia won the first hole with a conceded birdie, then won the next three with pars to take a commanded lead against Chappell, who could never climb all the way out of the early hole. Chappell did make three birdies before the turn to close the gap. Another birdie at the 12th left him 2 down, but Garcia answered by winning the next two holes.
Said Garcia: "Obviously I started well. Kevin didn't have the best four holes to start with but then he started playing well making birdies. In these conditions that is not easy. I felt like I played really solid."
JON RAHM (21), Spain def. SHANE LOWRY (53), Ireland ... 2 and 1
In a tight match in which both players struggled for birdies, it was all square through 13. But then Rahm won the 14th hole with a par, as Lowry found trouble off the tee. Rahm's only birdie on his card came at the 16th, when he two-putted the par-5 hole from 42-1/2 feet.
Friday's schedule: Garcia vs. Rahm, Chappell vs. Lowry
Scenarios: Rahm and Garcia, the two Spaniards, will battle for the group win. Winner advances. Rahm will advance with a halve. Chappell and Lowry are eliminated.
ALEX NOREN (8), Sweden def. BERND WIESBERGER (36), Austria ... 3 and 2
This match was never really in doubt as the Swede jumped out to a 4up lead through six holes and never looked back. Wiesberger had halved the deficit through 11 holes but Noren’s birdie on 12 put space between them once more and he cruised to victory. Even a bogey on the 16th was good enough for the win.
Said Noren: “It feels nice. Very windy conditions. I played pretty good and putted better than yesterday, so that helps a lot in match play. Especially when it's windy, you got a lot of longer putts for par. It's tough to hit the chips close and the long putts close. It's tricky conditions.”
THONGCHAI JAIDEE (57), Thailand def. FRANCESCO MOLINARI (25), Italy ... 5 and 3
The Italian struggled to find any consistency on the front nine -- he had four bogeys in his first eight holes -- and found himself 6-down after the front nine. Despite the near-insurmountable lead for Jaidee, the match still went 15 holes before it was closed out with a concession. After the match, Molinari withdrew from the tournament with a wrist injury.
Friday's schedule: Wiesberger vs. Jaidee
Scenarios: Noren has won the group. Molinari withdrew after Thursday's round with a wrist injury, meaning Noren will finish with a maximum 3 points.
KEVIN KISNER (34), USA def. PATRICK REED (9), USA ... 1 up
Kisner opened with a birdie and led for the first 10 holes. After a bogey squared the match, he regained the lead with a birdie at the 12th. Reed squared the match with a 7-foot birdie putt at the par-4 16th, but found trouble around the 17th green for a bogey, giving Kisner the lead and ultimately the match.
Said Kisner: "I'll be a big Patrick Reed fan tomorrow. I've got a tough match in Duf. We'll have a good time. I've got to handle my deal and see what happens."
BROOKS KOEPKA (20), USA def. JASON DUFNER (59), USA ... 6 and 5
For the second straight day, Koepka needed just 13 holes to dispatch his opponent. Koepka and Dufner were all square through four holes before Koepka made his move with a birdie-birdie-par-par-birdie stretch on Nos. 5-9 that gave him a 4-up lead at the turn. He would add another two more circles to the card on the 10th and 12th. So far this week, Koepka has recorded 12 birdies in 26 holes.
Said Koepka:"Obviously it's dried out a little bit. It's tough to judge it, especially when you are downwind. A couple of times we thought we might be the opposite. But playing real well. Just need to do that tomorrow."
Friday's schedule: Reed vs. Koepka; Kisner vs. Dufner
Scenarios: Koepka clinches with win or halve. If he loses and Kisner wins, they meet in a playoff. Reed and Dufner are eliminated.
Brooks Koepka's sensational approach shot at Dell Match Play
TYRRELL HATTON (10), England def. JEUNGHUN WANG (40), Korea ... 2 up
Hatton came back hard from an early deficit to keep his destiny in his own hands. Sitting 2 down through five holes Hatton took advantage of some Wang mistakes and produced a steady hand to win four straight holes to turn with a 2 up lead. While Wang pulled within one hole on three separate occasions on the back nine Hatton held firm and buried a 12-footer on the last for birdie and the win.
Said Hatton: "I'm not used to playing match play now as a professional. It's tough, because you're playing the best guys in the world. And today was really hard it was so windy. I'm just happy to get the win."
CHARLES HOWELL III (61), USA def. RAFA CABRERA BELLO (22), Spain
A gorgeous chip shot to gimme range on the 18th hole helped Howell III ward off a late Spanish charge. After attempting to drive the green but coming up 81-1/2 feet short in the rough, Howell chipped it to just 4 feet for a conceded birdie, leaving Cabrera Bello with an 11-footer to tie the match. Unfortunately for the Spaniard he was unable to coax it home, stunting what had been a nice fightback. Howell III forged to a 3-up lead after just six holes to have Cabrera Bello pressing most of the day. He still had a 2 up lead with three holes to play but a birdie for Cabrera Bello halved the deficit on the par-5 16th. When Howell produced a “shank” from the greenside bunker on the par-3 17th into a ravine, the match was suddenly all square but he was able to regroup and win the last.
Said Howell: "(Conditions are) difficult enough to cause a shank. That was all the wind. It was a tough bunker shot and I was trying to hit a big ole flop shot in there and stop it. I was a bit numb playing the last hole after that. Fortunately, I got a nice up and down to save it a little bit."
Friday schedule: Hatton vs. Cabrera Bello; Wang vs. Howell
Scenarios: Hatton clinches with a win or halve and is guaranteed a playoff spot even with a loss. Cabrera Bello and Howell must win to force a three-man playoff with Hatton. If Cabrera Bello wins and Howell doesn't, then Cabrera Bello and Hatton will be in a playoff. Wang is eliminated.
BILL HAAS (42), USA def. DANNY WILLETT (11), England ... 6 and 5
Haas used a strong opening nine and a hot putter to eliminate the reigning Masters champion from advancing to the weekend. Haas' birdie the third from 14 feet, and then added two more on the fifth and sixth holes to go 3-up. He went on to win the last two holes, closing out the match on the 13th. Haas is attempting to reach the Round of 16 for the second straight year.
K.T. KIM (64), Korea def. RUSSELL KNOX (17), Scotland ... 3 and 1
The last player into the field recorded his second win in the competition and now controls his fate. Kim made four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the front nine to take command on the match, and then held on as Knox tried to stage a comeback with a par on the 11th that cut the lead to 2-up. But that was as close as Knox would get, conceding the match on the 17th when his 79-foot putt rolled off the green.
Friday's schedule: Willett vs. Knox; Haas vs Kim
Scenarios: Kim can clinch with a win or a halve, and is guaranteed a playoff even with a loss. If Haas and Knox win, they will force a three-way tie. If Haas wins and Knox loses, Haas and Kim meet in a playoff. Willett is eliminated.
PAUL CASEY (12), England def. BYEONG HUN AN (45), Korea ... 1 up
Casey led for all 18 holes but he was never able to pull away from An. Casey's fourth birdie of the round, at the 16th hole, put him 2 up. But he gave one back with a bogey at the 17th. An, who played better on Thursday than the day before, made a 13-footer to save par at 18, but Casey won the match with his 2-footer.
CHARL SCHWARTZEL (24), South Africa def. JOOST LUITEN (60), Netherlands ... 4 and 3
Schwartzel has four birdies and three bogeys in his first two matches but won both in relatively stressfree fashion, having yet to play past the 15th hole. On Thursday, Luiten made four bogeys in a five-hole stretch in the middle of the match, putting Casey 5-up through 11. The day before, An made seven bogeys without a birdie.
Said Schwartzel: "I suppose match play, this is what it's all about. You go through and you win every single match, you end up winning this tournament. For me, it's going to be the case. There's no slipping through."
Friday's schedule: Casey vs. Schwartzel; An vs. Luiten
Scenarios: The Casey-Schwartzel winner will advance. An and Luiten are eliminated.
BUBBA WATSON (13), USA def. SCOTT PIERCY (39), USA ... 4 and 2
Impressive bogey-free performance by Watson, who posted seven birdies in routing Piercy for his second win in group play. Watson rolled in a 23-1/2 foot putt on the first hole and a 16-footer on the next to take the lead and set the tone. He rarely put himself in trouble, as he hit 12 of 15 greens, never giving Piercy an opening.
Said Watson (on his ballstriking): "It was really nice. We tweaked the, whatever you call it, where the ball position was. So it was really nice. It's nice to know where the balls are going, especially with this wind."
JHONATTAN VEGAS (55), Venezuela def. THOMAS PIETERS (30), Belgium ... 3 and 1
In need of a win to make things interesting on Friday, Vegas scored the first upset of the day that moved him to 1-1-0 for the week. Unlike the previous match against Watson when he was at least 1-down for 16 of the 18 holes, Vegas played the role of front-runner against Pieters. He birdied the opening hole to take a 1-up lead and never trailed for the duration of the match. Vegas made three bogeys over his final five holes but still managed to end the match on the 17th.
Said Vegas: "I feel like the game is turning the right way. Just try to play good tomorrow. Scott Piercy is obviously a tough player. Try to get a win and see what Bubba does and see how it goes from there."
Friday's schedule: Watson vs. Pieters; Piercy vs. Vegas
Scenarios: Watson advances with a win or a halve, and is guaranteed a playoff even if he loses. If Pieters and Vegas win, then it's a three-man playoff. If Pieters wins and Vegas doesn't, then Watson and Pieters will be in a playoff. Piercy has been eliminated.
PHIL MICKELSON (14), USA def. DANIEL BERGER (35), USA ... 5 and 4
Last year this match up went down to the 18th hole before Mickelson prevailed but this time out the veteran gave the youngster a thrashing, ending it on the 14th. Berger had issues adjusting to the wind gusts from the beginning, overcooking approaches on the first two holes to hand Mickelson a 2 up lead. The five-time major winner then went for the throat with birdies on the 5th and 6th holes to open up a huge four-hole advantage. Berger’s only birdie came on the par-3 7th to temporarily stop the rot but with three bogeys and a double in his next six holes a comeback was never on the cards. Mickelson also had some back nine issues in the wind but a water ball on the 14th signed Berger’s death warrant.
Said Mickelson: "I think (the wind) it is fun. I mean, I think it's a hard challenge. I think that given the severity of the greens and so forth, certainly there are holes we're going to look ridiculous on. I think it's fun and it's great for match play because you don't worry about the stroke. It's just relative to your opponent. So you can get aggressive on some of these holes and take on some of the trouble. If you pull it off, you can make some birdies.”
J.B. HOLMES (31), USA and SI WOO KIM (63), Korea ... halved
A final hole birdie from Kim halved the match and effectively eliminated both players from contention. Holmes had clawed his way out of an early 2 down deficit with three straight birdies on holes 4-6 and looked set to keep his hopes alive when a par was enough to go 1 up on the par-3 17th. But the American was unable to make a 28-foot birdie try on the 18th to win the match after Kim had splashed out from the bunker to stone dead.
Friday schedule: Mickelson vs. Holmes; Berger vs. Kim
Scenarios: Mickelson clinches with a win or a halve. If he loses and Berger wins, they meet in a playoff. Holmes and Kim are eliminated.
WILLIAM McGIRT (48), USA def. BRANDEN GRACE (15), South Africa ... 2 and 1
McGirt moved a step closer to advancing with a win that moved him to 2-0. McGirt grabbed the lead on the opening hole, but quickly gave it back and didn't pull in front again until the 12th when he converted a 12-footer for birdie. The match would remain tight down the stretch and looked to be shifting in Grace's direction on the 16th until McGirt holed out from just off the green for par to remain 1-up.
Said McGirt: "The thing is Grace and I are such good buddies. It's just one of those things, we had fun all day. Got a little quiet on the back nine. He got a little hot when I had ten feet for birdie over there on 13 and the gust blows my ball and now I've got 35 feet. Almost blew it in the water."
BRANDT SNEDEKER (19), USA def. ANDY SULLIVAN (52), England ... 2 and 1
With the match all square at the turn, Snedeker grabbed the lead with two birdies and then held on down the stretch. He bogeyed three of his last four holes, and also missed two putts inside 4-1/2 feet, but his 2-up advantage remained intact, as Sullivan suffered the same fate in windy conditions.
Said Snedeker: "It's tough. You're second-guessing yourself all day. You hit good putts but if the wind gets them, you start playing against yourself all day."
Friday's schedule: Grace vs. Snedeker; McGirt vs. Sullivan
Scenarios: McGirt can clinch with a win or halve, or if Grace-Snedeker halve their match. Snedeker or Grace must win and hope McGirt loses to force a playoff. Sullivan is eliminated.
William McGirt's chip-in to halve the hole at Dell Match Play
ZACH JOHNSON (44), USA def. MATT KUCHAR (16), USA ... 2 up
In the battle of St. Simons Island residents, it was the two-time major winner who came out on top. After dropping a close one to Tommy Fleetwood (1 up), Johnson got back on track in a match that saw both players go all 18 holes for the second straight day. Johnson's two-putt par on the 15th gave him a 1-up lead; he would add one more for good measure on the 18th to secure the win.
Said Johnson: "It was a pretty even match, obviously. I gave him some holes, he gave me some holes. That's kind of how it went. It stinks when you have got to play a really, really good friend. At some point it's probably going to happen, I get it. Me and Matt have been tight for many years now."
BRENDAN STEELE (50), USA def. TOMMY FLEETWOOD (29), England ... 1 up
Steele was 2 down at the turn, grabbed a late lead, gave it up with a bogey at 17, and then won the match with an 8-foot birdie putt on the last hole. In other words, a rollercoaster round. Fleetwood had to battle back from a stretch in which he bogeyed the 11th and doubled the 13th. Steele, making his Match Play debut, now controls his own fate going into Friday's final day of group play.
Friday schedule: Kuchar vs. Fleetwood; Johnson vs. Steele
Scenarios: If Steele wins, he clinches. He also clinches with a halve and a Fleetwood halve or loss. If Johnson and Fleetwood win, they meet in a playoff. If Fleetwood wins and Steele halves, they meet in a playoff. If Johnson and Kuchar win, Johnson advances. Kuchar has been eliminated.