Day 4 match recaps: WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play
March 30, 2019
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Bjerregaard knocks out Woods in Quarterfinals
AUSTIN, Texas -- Tiger's out but four players are left after Saturday's Round of 16 and Quarterfinal matches at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play. Francesco Molinari, Kevin Kisner, Matt Kuchar and Lucas Bjerregaard -- the latter fresh off his defeat of Tiger Woods on Saturday afternoon -- have advanced to Sunday's Semifinals.
Here are the recaps from Saturday's 12 matches at Austin Country Club:
LUCAS BJERREGAARD (50) def. TIGER WOODS (13), 1 up
The Match Play rookie from Denmark outdueled the three-time Match Play champ in a 18-hole duel with plenty of drama, with Woods shocking the gallery when he missed a par putt from 4-1/2 feet on the 18th hole that would have extended the match. Woods had three consecutive birdies to go 2-up after five holes but Bjerregaard hung tough. He squared the match with a birdie at 10 but a double bogey at the next hole gave the lead back to Woods. Bjerregard’s 29-foot eagle putt at the 16th squared the match, and then both birdied the 17th with excellent tee shots. Their tee shots at 18 ended up right and below the green. Woods found the bunker with his second shot, while Bjerregaard landed safely on the green. Woods’ third from the bunker left him with the short par attempt, and Bjerregaard couldn’t convert his 17-footer for birdie. But it ultimately didn’t matter. Holes won Bjerregaard 5, Woods 4. Holes led: Bjerregaard 3, Woods 11.
Said Bjerregaard: ""It's a shame it had to end that way because it was a really good match. Conditions were tough today and we both threw in a bunch of birdies at it. So it's a shame it had to finish with a bogey. But obviously I'm happy to be standing on the winning side."
Said Woods (on last putt): "We read it inside left, left center, and the putt went left. I went back and hit it again and it did the same thing. Just one of those weird spots. Had a lot of difficult pins out there. It is match play and they're going to put the pins on the difficult side, and they did. And we just have to hit good shots."
MATT KUCHAR (23) def. SERGIO GARCIA (26), 2 up
Kuchar never trailed in a match that included a controversial moment but ultimately ended with Kuchar holding off a late Garcia rally. Kuchar was 3-up after eight holes, as Garcia hit a rough patch that included a double bogey at the seventh when he missed a tap-in bogey putt before Kuchar could concede it. Garcia was upset and bogeyed the next two holes but said later that he only blamed himself for the mistake at seven. Kuchar was 3-up as late as the 14th hole following his last birdie of the round, but Garcia won the next two holes with birdies to put the pressure on. Ultimately, he conceded the final hole and the match with Kuchar staring at a 7-foot birdie putt. Holes won: Kuchar 5, Garcia 4. Holes led: Kuchar 14, Garcia 0.
KEVIN KISNER (48) def. LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN (19), 2 and 1
Kisner, a finalist last year when he lost to Bubba Watson in the Championship match, is headed to the final day in Austin for the second consecutive year. Oosthuizen rallied late, winning the last three holes after Oosthuizen led for the majority of the match. The South African started strong with four birdies in his first seven holes but lost the ninth with a double-bogey to Kisner’s bogey. Oosthuizen regained the lead with a birdie at the 10th, but Kisner hung tough. Oosthuizen found trouble with his approach at the 15th to lose the hole with a bogey. Kisner then pounced, getting up-and-down for birdie from the greenside bunker at the par-5 16th for a birdie to grab the lead. Kisner then hit his tee shot inside 2 feet at the 17th and Oosthuizen conceded the hole and the match. Holes won: Kisner 6, Oosthuizen 5. Holes led: Kisner 4, Oosthuizen 8.
Said Kisner: "He came out firing. He made a bunch of birdies and really putted well. I just kept plugging along, made some pars there when I needed to. Short game kind of bailed me out coming in."
FRANCESCO MOLINARI (7) def. KEVIN NA (57), 6 and 5
Na won the first hole with an 11-foot birdie putt. After that? All Molinari. The Italian won the next six holes with four birdies and two pars to remain undefeated through five matches this week. Molinari’s 17-foot birdie putt at the par-4 third gave him the lead for good, and he followed with birdie putts from 11-1/2 feet and 8 feet. Na, who had knocked off Justin Rose in the Round of 16, then double-bogeyed the par-5 sixth, and Molinari followed with a 16-foot birdie putt at the seventh. Molinari has yet to play the 18th hole this week and has only been past the 15th hole in one match. Holes won: Molinari 7, Na 1. Holes led: Molinari 11, Na 1.
Said Molinari: "Kevin birdied the first and then after that I started birdieing hole after hole and just putted great. Hit the ball very well. It was really tough with the wind this afternoon but I managed to adapt to the conditions very well."
Round of 16
TIGER WOODS (13) def. RORY McILROY (4), 2 and 1
Woods, the three-time Match Play champ, was 3-up through 11 holes, thanks to some solid ball-striking and faulty McIlroy putting. But McIlroy won the next two holes with birdies to make it interesting. Tiger did well to halve the 15th after an errant tee shot, as he made a clutch 7-footer for par. Then at the par-5 16th, McIlroy had a 395-yard drive and was left with a wedge from the fairway, while Woods’ tee shot was half-plugged under the lip of the bunker, forcing him to just punch out to the fairway, followed by a third shot from 204 yards away that found the green. McIlroy failed to convert the advantage, as his second shot finished in the rough just above a greenside bunker. With an awkward stance, McIlroy’s next shot went over the green and landed next to the boundary ties. He took the unplayable stroke penalty and went back to his original spot; this time his shot found another bunker, and McIlroy inconceivably lost the hole without Woods having to use his putter. Woods nailed down the win with a 13-foot par-saving putt at the 17th. Holes won: Woods 4, McIlroy 2. Holes led: Woods 13, McIlroy 0.
Said Woods: "It was a fun match for us. I know that we battled pretty hard against one another and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I was fortunate to come out on top."
SERGIO GARCIA (26) def. BRANDEN GRACE (40), 1 up
Garcia trailed most of the front nine and was 1-down as late as the 14th hole after a Grace birdie. But Garcia won the next two holes with a par and a birdie, the latter via an up-and-down from the greenside bunker at the par-5 16th. That put Garcia 1-up and he maintained that for the last two holes. Grace had a chance to extend the match but missed a 6-foot birdie putt at the 18th. Holes won: Garcia 6, Grace 5. Holes led: Garcia 4, Grace 9.
Said Garcia: "Very intense. Obviously Grace started really well. Then it got really tricky. When this kind of weather came in, it got very, very difficult. I managed to make three really good putts, so that obviously shows me a lot."
MATT KUCHAR (23) def. TYRRELL HATTON (35), 4 and 3
Kuchar, the 2013 Match Play champ, stayed out of trouble to eliminate Hatton and reach the Quarterfinals for the first time in the current format. Kuchar was 2-up at the turn after winning the sixth with a birdie and the eighth with a par. Another Kuchar birdie at the 12 put him 3-up, then Hatton bogeyed the 15th to end the match. Holes won: Kuchar 5, Hatton 1. Holes led: Kuchar 11, Hatton 0.
Said Kuchar: "I try to just play steady golf. And that was the formula today, just steady golf."
LUCAS BJERREGAARD (50) def. HENRIK STENSON, 3 and 2
Bjerregaard, making his Match Play debut this week, continued to impress by knocking off the previously unbeaten Stenson, the 2007 Match Play champ. The Dane took the lead for good with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 sixth, and followed with another birdie to win the sixth. After the turn, he won three holes with birdies to suppress any Stenson rally. Holes won: Bjerregaard 7, Stenson 4. Holes led: Bjerregaard 13, Stenson 0.
Said Bjerregaard: "I made a couple of mistakes in the last couple of holes. But other than that, we didn't really do much wrong. I putted really well today and that was the difference."
KEVIN NA (57) def. JUSTIN ROSE (2), 2 up
Na produced some terrific shots down the stretch to hold off the world’s No. 2-ranked player and advance to the Quarterfinals for the first time. Na had four of his seven birdies on the back, including at 17 when he followed Rose’s tee shot to 3 feet with one that finished in tap-in range, then at 18 when Na’s approach finished 8 feet away. The match was tied through 13, but two Rose bogeys opened the door for Na. Holes won: Na 7, Rose 5. Holes led: Na 15, Rose 0.
Said Na: "I played awesome today. The back nine I was clutch. I hit some great shots in difficult conditions, just like that last hole right there. Who would have thought I'd be hitting 6-iron in this hole? And what a shot I hit there."
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN (19) def. MARC LEISHMAN (17), 2 and 1
Oosthuizen, a finalist in Austin in 2016, eliminated Leishman in a well-played round by both players. Oosthuizen was a bogey-free 7 under for his 17 holes while Leishman was 5 under, as the two combined for 13 birdies. Oosthuizen was 1 up after Leishman’s missed par putt from 6-1/2 feet at the seventh. The South African then extended the lead with birdies at hole Nos. 9 and 10. Oosthuizen closed it out by matching Leishman’s birdies at the 16th and 17th. Holes won: Oosthuizen Holes led: Oosthuizen 12, Leishman 1.
Said Oosthuizen: "I'm putting good, so it sort of takes a little bit of pressure off the rest of the game. I'm not really forcing it to go to the pins."
FRANCESCO MOLINARI (7) def. PAUL CASEY (10), 5 and 4
Molinari continued his efficient play this week with a bogey-free 14 holes that included four birdies, as he knocked out Casey, a two-time finalist in this event. Through his first four rounds (60 holes total), Molinari has just four bogeys as he reached the weekend for the first time in the current format. Casey bogeyed the third and eighth holes to make the turn 2 down, and then found the water at the 12th for another bogey. Two Molinari birdies from inside 10 feet on the next two holes ended the match. Holes won: Molinari 6, Casey 1. Holes led: Molinari 12, Casey 1.
Said Molinari: "I played well again, like the other days. Paul started well and then probably didn't play some of his best golf. But I was very good in keeping my head down and just keep working, keep trying to make birdies."
KEVIN KISNER (48) def. HAOTONG LI (36), 6 and 5
Kisner, who reached the Championship final last year, made quick work of Li, who was his own worst enemy. Kisner was 3-up after an 8-foot birdie putt at the first and pars on the next two holes. Another Kisner birdie at the fifth from 9 feet extended the lead. Li, reaching the Round of 16 for the first time in his second Match Play start, bogeyed three of his last six holes and hit just 4 of 10 fairways while Kisner hit 9 of 10. Holes won: Kisner 7, Li 1. Holes led: Kisner 13, Li 0.
Said Kisner: "He made a couple of bogeys early, and I was fortunate enough to make par and threw in a few birdies. Played solid all day, probably the most solid I've played all week."