List hangs tough with Thomas despite putting with his wedgeList broke his putter on No. 8, but took Thomas to the final hole
March 21, 2018
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
Luke List sinks 18-foot birdie putt with his wedge at Dell Match Play
AUSTIN, Texas — Three down after the first seven holes against Justin Thomas, Luke List just wanted to make their match last until the 18th hole.
List managed to do exactly that on Wednesday in the first round of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. Overcoming such a large deficit against the FedExCup leader is never easy, but List also had an unexpected challenge to overcome. He had to use a wedge as his putter for the final 11 holes.
Frustrated with his putting as he walked to the 8th tee, List took a swipe at what he thought was a small group of bushes, only to realize there was a brick wall behind them that took the brunt of the punishment and bent his putter in the process.
"It bent the putter a fraction of an inch just below the grip," List said. "Unfortunately, I couldn't use the putter the rest of the way. It was stupid on my part."
With his putter out of commission — a club bent outside the course of play is deemed non-conforming — List switched to a lob wedge and something clicked. He went on to halve the next five holes before rallying with three birdies on Nos. 13-16 — the highlight was an 18-footer for birdie on 15 — to take the match to the last.
Thomas birdied the final hole for a 2-up victory in the rematch of their playoff at The Honda Classic, which Thomas won on the first hole. This was just Thomas’ second win in seven matches at this event. He went 0-3 in his debut in 2016 and 1-2 last year.
"I was thinking about it, how bad that would hurt if I couldn't get it done," said Thomas, who was battling the effects of strep throat after having his wisdom teeth removed two weeks ago. "He hit some great putts and he made some good ones when he needed to.
"I told Jimmy we just need to hit a lot of greens and make him have to make putts with that wedge. He made — I was looking at a putt that was going to possibly win the match there on 15, and he makes it and I have a nasty lip-out and lose the next hole. Next thing you know, I'm looking at maybe losing the match"
List's furious charge on the back nine with a lob wedge in his hands was reminiscent of Robert Streb's final round at the 2015 Greenbrier Classic, where he managed to card five birdies while using a sand wedge on the greens. He played his way into a four-way playoff won by Danny Lee.
List, the No. 60 seed, wound up making more birdies with the wedge (three) than he did with his putter (one) on Wednesday. Despite his lack of success with the putter early in the match, List said the plan was to get the club back in game shape for the final two matches.
"I'll get the club fixed and it'll be ready to go tomorrow," said List, who’s making his debut in this event. "I have two more matches so anything can happen."