Things you may have missed, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Day 3
March 26, 2021
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Sergio Garcia makes a hole-in-one to advance at the 2021 WGC-Dell Match Play
AUSTIN, Texas – The final 16 players are decided at the World Golf Championships – Dell Technologies Match Play on Friday with one coming via a walk-off ace.
With so many scenarios playing out over the 32 final Group Stage matches, we’re here to keep you abreast of the key things you may have missed.
SERGIO GARCIA ADVANCES VIA WALKOFF ACE
Spain’s Sergio Garcia provided the moment of the tournament thus far by producing a hole-in-one on the fourth hole of a sudden death playoff against England’s Lee Westwood to advance to the final 16.
Garcia had already made two lengthy par putts to stay alive during the playoff before taking dead aim on the par-3 3rd from 160-yards.
His shot dropped a few feet behind the hole before rolling back into the cup, knocking his Ryder Cup teammate Westwood out of the tournament.
“A hole-in-one is amazing. Lucky No. 13 for me. But the two putts I made on two and three, massive, to keep myself going. And then obviously the shot on four, it's a great shot, but then you get lucky that first of all it doesn't hit the flag… and then it rolls back in,” Garcia beamed afterwards.
“Obviously very happy about that. I'm sorry for Lee because I did a couple stupid things to him this week, the first day and today, but unfortunately one of us had to lose."
Well , 28 years on tour and I thought I’d seen everything. I hadn’t! 🤣🤣🤣— Lee Westwood (@WestwoodLee) March 26, 2021
Earlier Garcia had his fate in his own hands knowing a win or tie against Matt Wallace would see him advance. But he was unable to best the Englishman thanks in part to a foot cramp. Wallace won 3 and 2 which opened the door for Westwood to force a playoff if he could beat fellow Englishman Tyrrell Hatton.
“It was a tough day. I had to take some Advil on the sixth green because the arch of my left foot was cramping and I was struggling to get through the ball,” Garcia admitted.
“Because of that I didn't hit the ball as well as I did the other days. I didn't hit it poorly, but I just didn't hit it quite as well. I'm going to have to work on it because tomorrow hopefully is going to be a very long day, and I need my feet to be in perfect shape.”
Westwood, who finished runner up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard and at THE PLAYERS Championship, took Hatton out comfortably 4 and 3 to get his return bout with Garcia.
And it appeared the veteran might avenge his round 1 loss (4 and 3) to the former Masters champion when Garcia faced a 10-foot par save on the second playoff hole, and again when he left 8-feet for par on the third extra hole. But Garcia stepped up and drained them both before his heroics on the fourth.
NA TAKES OUT DJ AFTER CONCESSION DRAMA
Kevin Na might be giving up size and power to FedExCup champion Dustin Johnson but he wasn’t intimidated when Johnson broke protocol in their match.
On the par-3 11th Johnson had a birdie putt to win the hole with Na sitting just outside 3-feet for his par. When he lipped out the putt some 13-inches Johnson dragged the ball back without waiting for it to be conceded. Na called over the world No.1 to advise him that while he was going to concede the putt, Johnson should indeed wait for that to happen.
Na was within his rights to have a penalty called on Johnson, which would have seen him lose the hole, but instead suggested his par putt should be conceded and the hole halved. Johnson seemingly reluctantly agreed.
Kevin Na and Dustin Johnson discuss conceded putt at WGC-Dell Match Play
“I had just inside three feet for a par uphill; it's a straight putt, and his lipped out and he had six inches and obviously it's good, but I hadn't said anything, and he whacked it,” Na explained afterwards.
“I froze there and looked at Kenny (caddie) and I wasn't going to say that's a penalty, you're going to lose the hole. I was going to say, you know what, that was good anyway. I didn't want to be over that putt and be thinking about that.
“So I called him over and said, Hey, I'm not going to take the hole from you, but I just want to let you know before I said something you whacked the ball. But I'm going to give that putt to you, so we'll call it a halve and go to the next hole. That's what we did. I think it's the right thing to do.”
On the next hole Johnson put his second shot in the water and the match was squared up but Johnson, who could advance to the round of 16 with a victory, was 1-up with two to play.
Instead of icing it he had to watch Na connect a 21-foot birdie on the 17th hole and then on the 18th – when a tie would have sent Johnson into a playoff with Robert MacIntyre – Na walked in a 5-foot birdie to win 1-up and send Johnson packing.
FLEETWOOD’S CADDIE BREAKS SIGN TO HELP HIS MAN
Tommy Fleetwood faced a win-and-in scenario on Friday in his match against Bryson DeChambeau and as such his caddie Ian Finnis was going to do whatever it took to get his man home.
On the par-4 3rd hole this meant destroying a wooden sign.
Of course Finnis didn’t intentionally snap the fan crossing sign in half – he was instead trying to pull it from the ground after Fleetwood’s drive had sailed way right and was resting on a cart path from which he had chosen to play from.
“I just know how clumsy he is, so I was expecting it, to be honest. He's not got the lightest touch,” Fleetwood laughed. “Like as soon as he touched it, I think it snapped and it was done then. We can sort of reimburse the tournament for a new walking sign.”
Fleetwood would go on to win the match – in perhaps a Ryder Cup preview – 1-up and advanced to the final 16.
TOP SEEDS SKITTLED AS UNDERDOG FINAL 16 SECURED
Jon Rahm is the lone top seed from Group Play remaining in the final 16 after another wild day of upsets and playoffs. Of the 16 players left, 11 come from the bottom half of seedings with eight of them coming out of their group as the lowest seed.
The No. 3 seed needed to beat his Zurich Classic of New Orleans winning partner Ryan Palmer in a playoff after the pair tied their 18-hole match.
In an incredible final washup Rahm advanced to play 62nd seed Erik Van Rooyen on Saturday morning after the South African first beat Brendon Todd 2 and 1 in his third-round match before taking out 14th seed Daniel Berger in a playoff for the group.
Van Rooyen isn’t the highest seed left – his countryman Dylan Frittelli is the 64th and last seed and will continue on despite losing on day three to Will Zalatoris. Having won his opening two matches Frittelli was sent through when Tony Finau beat Jason Kokrak. He now faces the second-highest seed left in England’s Tommy Fleetwood (21).
Fleetwood took out Bryson DeChambeau 1-up to advance – with a filthy flop shot on the final hole going a long way to his victory after a wayward drive put his chances at risk.
It was a banner day for former Texas Longhorns with Jordan Spieth (49), Scottie Scheffler (30) and Frittelli advancing. Garcia also has ties to the university thanks to his wife Angela – who played on the women’s team.
Spieth beat Canadian Corey Conners 3 and 2 to set up a date with 2019’s runner up and former event champion Matt Kuchar (52). Kuchar gained some revenge from his conqueror from the ’19 final, beating defending champion Kevin Kisner 2 and 1 in their winner take all clash.
Scheffler needed a playoff to take out No.6 seed Xander Schauffele after the two couldn’t be separated in their 18-hole match. Next up is former champion and match play guru Ian Poulter (60) who went undefeated in his group by taking down Lanto Griffin.
As noted above Garcia advanced via a sensational walk off hole-in-one and will next meet No.48 seed MacKenzie Hughes. Hughes came through his group after knocking down Webb Simpson and Paul Casey in the opening rounds.
Bubba Watson (55) will take on Brian Harman (54) after both men took out higher seeds from their groups in playoffs late Friday. The par-4 2nd green was not friendly to No. 10 seed Patrick Cantlay or No. 26 Joaquin Niemann. They both missed short par putts to send their opponents through.
ROUND OF 16
7:35 a.m. - Tommy Fleetwood (21) vs. Dylan Frittelli (64)
WGC-MP Record: Fleetwood 9-6-2; Frittelli 3-3-0
Strokes Gained This Week: Off-the-Tee: Fleetwood -1.198, Frittelli -1.137; Tee-to-Green: Fleetwood -0.386, Frittelli -0.101; Approach the Green: Fleetwood -1.203, Frittelli -0.946; Around the Green: Fleetwood +2.256, Frittelli +1.111; Putting: Fleetwood -3.015, Frittelli +0.935
7:46 a.m. - Billy Horschel (32) vs. Kevin Streelman (53)
WGC-MP Record: Horschel 7-6-1; Streelman 2-2-0
Strokes Gained This Week: Off-the-Tee: Horschel +0.165, Streelman +0.011; Tee-to-Green: Horschel -5.437, Streelman -0.069; Approach the Green: Horschel -0.189, Streelman +1.059; Around the Green: Horschel -5.260, Streelman -1.331; Putting: Horschel +4.910, Streelman -0.136
7:57 a.m. – Sergio Garcia (39) vs. Mackenzie Hughes (48)
WGC-MP Record: Garcia 27-21-1; Hughes 2-0-1
Strokes Gained This Week: Off-the-Tee: Garcia +2.316, Hughes -1.719 ; Tee-to-Green: Garcia +4.914, Hughes +0.876; Approach the Green: Garcia +3.782, Hughes +1.835; Around the Green: Garcia -1.329, Hughes +0.526; Putting: Garcia -0.767, Hughes +4.071
8:08 a.m. – Robert MacIntyre (41) vs. Victor Perez (31)
WGC-MP Record: MacIntyre 1-0-2; Perez 2-1-0
Strokes Gained This Week: Off-the-Tee: MacIntyre +3.396, Perez +1.679 ; Tee-to-Green: MacIntyre +7.027 Perez +6.814; Approach the Green: MacIntyre +0.875, Perez +4.728; Around the Green: MacIntyre +3.111, Perez +0.376; Putting: MacIntyre -1.196, Perez -3.172
8:19 a.m. – Scottie Scheffler (30) vs. Ian Poulter (60)
WGC-MP Record: Scheffler 1-0-2; Poulter 32-16-0
Strokes Gained This Week: Off-the-Tee: Scheffler +1.134, Poulter -0.702; Tee-to-Green: Scheffler -3.245, Poulter +0.062; Approach the Green: Scheffler -2.457, Poulter -0.398; Around the Green: Scheffler -1.355, Poulter +0.986; Putting: Scheffler -0.205, Poulter +2.567
8:30 a.m. – Jon Rahm (3) vs. Erik van Rooyen (62)
WGC-MP Record: Rahm 9-4-3; van Rooyen 2-1-0
Strokes Gained This Week: Off-the-Tee: Rahm +0.011, van Rooyen +1.312; Tee-to-Green: Rahm -2.514, van Rooyen +2.910; Approach the Green: Rahm +0.099, van Rooyen +2.035; Around the Green: Rahm -1.933, van Rooyen -0.932; Putting: Rahm +1.386, van Rooyen -5.840
8:41 a.m. – Brian Harman (54) vs. Bubba Watson (55)
WGC-MP Record: Harman 4-2-1; Watson 22-10-5
Strokes Gained This Week: Off-the-Tee: Harman +1.585, Watson +1.000 ; Tee-to-Green: Harman +3.691, Watson -2.005; Approach the Green: Harman +1.116, Watson -1.571; Around the Green: Harman +1.322, Watson -1.730; Putting: Harman +7.990, Watson +0.831
8:52 a.m. – Jordan Spieth (49) vs. Matt Kuchar (52)
WGC-MP Record: Spieth 14-6-3; Kuchar 31-10-4
Strokes Gained This Week: Off-the-Tee: Spieth +0.461, Kuchar -2.748; Tee-to-Green: Spieth +5.459, Kuchar -0.683; Approach the Green: Spieth +2.864, Kuchar -0.539; Around the Green: Spieth +1.878, Kuchar +2.527; Putting: Spieth -2.867, Kuchar +6.022.