Match recaps for Saturday: WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play
March 27, 2021
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- March 27, 2021
Tommy Fleetwood cards an ace at No. 4 at WGC-Dell Match Play
ROUND OF 16
TOMMY FLEETWOOD (21) def. DYLAN FRITTELLI (64), 4 and 3
The fourth hole produced the spectacular for the second straight day as Tommy Fleetwood rode an ace on the way to a comprehensive round of 16 win over local hopeful Dylan Frittelli.
England’s Fleetwood won the first two holes to take the lead before Frittelli tried to mount a comeback with a birdie on the third. It was then that the match was turned on its head. As Frittelli found a bunker from the tee on the par-3 3rd Fleetwood took dead aim from 179 yards and came up with the hole-in-one. Sergio Garcia had produced a walk off ace on the same hole in a playoff against Lee Westwood on Friday. This time around it just sent Fleetwood to a 2-up lead but South African Frittelli – a University of Texas alum – never got closer from that point on. Fleetwood was 3-up at the turn and 4-up after 10. Frittelli managed to win the 12th hole but it was all over by the 15th.
Fleetwood said: "It was a smooth 7, carried onto the slope, and rolled back in. We couldn't see it. There were like four people behind and we still weren't sure. It disappeared and had gone in the hole. I think that was back-to-back hole in ones on that hole because Sergio was the last person to play it last night and then me this morning, so we're on it good run on that one
BILLY HORSCHEL (32) def. KEVIN STREELMAN (53), 3 and 1
Billy Horschel came flying out of the starting gates in the round of 16 against Kevin Streelman, making four birdies in the first six holes to set up a commanding 3-up lead. His next birdie on the par-3 11th strengthened his case and although Streelman was able to drive the 13th green and was conceded an eagle, Horschel birdied 14 to once again be in command at 4-up with four to play. Not ready to go down without a fight, Streelman rallied with birdies on the 15th and 16th holes to bring some life into the match but his tee shot on the par-3 17th was dragged left and ended up bouncing into the canyon. From there Horschel was able to close it out.
Said Horschel: I'm a really good putter inside 10 feet and in match play that's a big advantage. I think you saw it today. I was able to make the putts inside 10 feet and Streels missed a few, which allowed me to be victorious.
VICTOR PEREZ (31) def. ROBERT MACINTYRE (41), 5 and 4
Frenchman Victor Perez galloped into the quarterfinals with a dominant display against Scot Robert MacIntyre. MacIntyre couldn’t recapture the form that saw him come out of the group including FedExCup champion Dustin Johnson but to be fair it was scintillating play from Perez that clinched this win. Perez made three birdies in the opening four holes to jump to a 2-up lead and he’d increased that to 3-up by the turn. Then he turned the screws. He made a 22-foot birdie on the 10th and a 19-footer on the 11th to go 5-up. When MacIntyre three-putted the 12th green Perez sat 6-up and unbeatable. The Scotsman provided one more highlight with his tee-shot on the drivable 13th nestling in at 5-feet to keep things going one more hole before Perez closed it out.
Said Perez: I knew that even at 3-, 4-up nothing was (finished). There were a lot of holes, opportunities on the backside where he could have made birdies, and I needed to keep pressing on. So made a few putts, which made it a lot easier.
SERGIO GARCIA (39) def. MACKENZIE HUGHES (48), 2 and 1
Sergio Garcia kept his championship hopes alive with a come from behind win over Canadian MacKenzie Hughes. The veteran Spaniard found himself 1-down through six holes before a wonderful tee shot on the par-3 7th left him with just five-feet for a birdie and he duly evened the contest. A stumble from Hughes came around the turn with back-to-back bogeys giving Garcia a leg up that he wouldn’t relinquish. Hughes got within one with a birdie on 11 but Garcia’s tee shot on the drivable 13th found the green just 11-feet from the cup and when Hughes couldn’t make birdie the eagle was conceded. Canada’s last hope then had a nightmare on the 14th green – three-putting from 8-feet, 7-inches to hand Garcia a 3-up advantage with just four holes to play. A glimmer of hope sparked up for those north of the border when a birdie on the 16th and a great tee shot on the 17th gave Hughes life but when he couldn’t find a way to birdie from 12-feet his challenge was done.
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER (30) def. IAN POULTER (60), 5 and 4
The University of Texas alum advanced easily into the quarterfinals in Austin. Poulter didn’t win a single hole. Scheffler took his first lead after holing a 6-foot birdie putt on the third hole. He also birdied the eighth – after hitting a 190-yard approach to 4 feet – to take a 2-up lead to the turn. Birdies at 10 and 12, and a par at 14, were enough to finish off Poulter.
Said Scheffler: “I kept the intensity up all day. You could tell by the look in his eye that he wasn't giving in at all. He was just waiting for a spark. He had some really good opportunities. Hit a great shot into 10 and I kind of took that hole away from him, and then another great putt on 11 and I kind of stole one again and really just kept the momentum on my side.”
JON RAHM (3) def. ERIK van ROOYEN (62), 3 and 2
Rahm, the highest seed remaining, used two back-nine eagles to advance to the quarterfinals. He closed out this match in style, by hitting a 240-yard approach on the par-5 16th to 11 feet and holing the eagle putt. Rahm had bogeyed the back nine’s other par-5, the 12th, to fall into a tie with van Rooyen, but Rahm responded by winning the next two holes. He eagled the drivable 13th after hitting his tee shot to 13 feet and won the next hole with par.
Rahm said: “It was a tough match. We both kept hanging in there. I feel like most of time he had putts to win holes and had some chance to maybe get a bigger lead early on. … I give him 12, I win 13, and then on 14 he misses that short one as well. So I think that stretch of holes was big for me obviously.”
BRIAN HARMAN (54) def. BUBBA WATSON (55), 2 and 1
Eight. Straight. Birdies. That’s what Harman needed to win this match between a pair of left-handed Georgia alums. Harman was 4 down when his birdie run started on the sixth hole. He was 3 up when the streak ended on the 13th hole. Watson fought back, winning Nos. 15 and 16 with birdies, but Harman’s par on 17 was enough to end the match after Watson hit his tee shot in the penalty area.
Said Harman: “Bubba got me out of this tournament several years back. … It’s nice to get the best of him today because I think he's about 10-0 against me.”
MATT KUCHAR (52) def. JORDAN SPIETH (49), 1-up
Kuchar got a modicum of revenge for the 2017 Open Championship, when Spieth broke his heart with a thrilling finish at Royal Birkdale. Kuchar didn’t lead until the final hole in their match Saturday, making a 6-foot birdie putt on 18 to advance to the quarterfinals of this event for the fifth time. Only Tiger Woods (6) has been in the quarterfinals more. Woods and Kuchar are the only players to win the U.S. Amateur and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. Now Kuchar is trying to become just the fourth player to win the Dell Match Play multiple times. The win improved Kuchar to 14-4-4 in matches at Austin Country Club.
BILLY HORSCHEL (32) def. TOMMY FLEETWOOD (21), 19 holes
Billy Horschel didn’t lead his quarterfinal against Tommy Fleetwood until it was over on the first hole of a sudden death playoff. The plucky American was 1-down with two holes to play but stepped up and threw a dart to 8-feet on the 17th hole before converting the putt to square the match. He then had to stand by and watch powerlessly as Fleetwood had a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th green to win and advance to the final four, but the Englishman could only stare in anguish as it came up millimeters short.
Both players were sent to the par-5 12th to start a playoff and the powerlessness shifted to Fleetwood when he pulled his drive hard left and out-of-bounds. Forced to re-tee Fleetwood was on a hiding to nothing and ultimately made bogey when he failed to chip in from the right side of the green. Horschel played safe and only needed to two-putt from 30-feet to advance. Despite leaving his first putt five feet short the American secured the par and the victory.
The 12th proved disastrous for Fleetwood. Earlier he saw his two-hole advantage cut in half when he sent his approach into the water on the same hole.
Said Horschel: “Nothing changes. I know what tomorrow means. I know it's no different than the final round. I was in the final round with Colin Morikawa at Concession, another WGC event I played very well. I'm not going to stress about it anymore, and I'm not going to worry about it. I'm just going to go play some golf and see where my game is and hopefully it's good enough and I play well enough then I can move on and maybe hold a trophy tomorrow.”
VICTOR PEREZ (31) def. SERGIO GARCIA (39), 4 and 3
Sergio Garcia couldn’t produce the heroics from his morning match, and most of the week, as his birdie barrage ran dry against Frenchman Victor Perez. Garcia was bogey free in his round of 16 win against Robert MacIntyre but against Perez the magic was gone. Despite taking an early lead when Perez lost his tee ball into the trees on the opening hole Garcia failed to be a factor. It was instead the gritty Frenchman who rebounded with birdies on the next two holes to take the lead.
Garcia – with the crowd most certainly in his favor thanks to his Texas residency – energized the fateful when he birdied the fifth hole. But it was the last bright spot of his tournament. Two swings later he put his approach shot into the driving range and out of bounds to fall behind again – and he never recovered.
Perez played solid golf, methodically hitting every fairway and green from the seventh hole onwards. Consequently, Garcia’s mistakes on the eighth and 13th holes cost him dearly and when Perez sunk a 7-foot birdie on the 15th hole it was over.
Perez said: “Obviously very happy. I think this morning was probably the best golf that I've played all week... and Sergio is such a great match player, nothing is going to be given to you so obviously I’m very pleased to get on to Sunday.”
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER (30) def. JON RAHM (3), 3 and 1
A raucous crowd helped steer Texas local Scottie Scheffler home in a sensational battle with No. 3 seed Jon Rahm. The match featured 14 birdies and just one bogey between the two players with Scheffler needing to fend off a furious Rahm fight down the stretch.
The only mistake from the combatants came via a Rahm bogey on the second hole when he pulled his approach shot into the canyon. Scheffler, a University of Texas in Austin alum, then birdied the third and fifth holes to seemingly take control. But his 3-up lead was reduced to just 1-up at the turn thanks to Rahm birdies on the seventh and ninth holes.
Scheffler wrestled back the momentum with birdies on the 10th and 12th holes to once again sit 3-up but any thoughts of cruising to the finish were long forgotten as Rahm birdied the next four holes. Incredibly Scheffler matched him on three of them including a clutch birdie from 10-feet on the 14th after Rahm holed out from off the green.
With a place in the final four up for grabs Scheffler hit his tee shot on 17 to just inside 10-feet and made the birdie to advance. Earlier he beat Ian Poulter, making it a banner day for the 24-year-old from Dallas who is chasing his first PGA TOUR win.
Said Scheffler: “I was excited to play these guys today. I was very excited for the morning match. I've watched Ian way too many times on TV just beat the crap out of us in the Ryder Cup. So I just have memories of me and my dad sitting on the couch and watching this guy make putt after putt. So it was nice to get one on him, at least for me. It was a fun day. I feel like I'm trending in a right direction as the week has gone on, so I'm excited to get back out on the course tomorrow.”
MATT KUCHAR def. BRIAN HARMAN (54), 2 and 1
For the second time running Matt Kuchar finds himself in the final four at Austin Country Club after outlasting Brian Harman. Veteran Kuchar, who won this event in 2013 and was runner up when it was last played in 2019, never trailed in the match. The left-handed Harman had made eight straight birdies in his round of 16 effort against Bubba Watson but mustered just one birdie on the front nine against Kuchar. Two bogeys meant he made the turn 2-down.
Kuchar pushed the lead out to three holes after 13 and while Harman made a birdie on 14 to get within two and then birdied 16 - Kuchar matched him with a clutch up and down from the sand.
Harman threw his best haymaker on 17, going close to a hole-in-one, but Kuchar was impervious to the pressure, and responded by knocking his own tee shot to 10-feet before sending it home for the win.
Tiger Woods and Kuchar are the only players to win the U.S. Amateur and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. Now Kuchar is trying to become just the fourth player to win the Dell Technologies Match Play multiple times. The win improved Kuchar to 15-4-4 in matches at Austin Country Club.
Said Kuchar: “It's going to take really high-quality golf to keep advancing. To beat Jordan this morning, I don't think I led until the 18th hole. And then Brian is just one of those cagey bulldogs, a lot like Kevin Kisner earlier in the week, that it was going to take a great performance by me and thankfully I had another strong afternoon.”