Due to a severe weather forecast on Friday, third-round tee times began at 7:30 a.m. rather than the scheduled 9:30 a.m. Cloudy with light showers in the morning. Heavy rain occurred at noon and lasted 15 minutes. Clear in the afternoon with SW wind at 10-20. High of 82.
The 64-player Dell Technologies Match Play field is divided into 16 four-player groups. Each group will play round-robin matches within their group on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Players receive one point for a victory, ½ point for a draw and zero points for a loss.
The player with the best record in each of the four player groups advances to the Round of 16 for single-elimination match play. In the event two players are tied in points following the completion of group play, those players will have a match play, sudden-death playoff starting on No. 1. In the event three players are tied in points following the completion of group play, those players will have a stroke-play, sudden-death playoff starting on No. 1.
The Round of 16 will be played Saturday morning, followed by the Quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon. The Semifinals will be Sunday morning, followed by the Championship Match and Consolation Match on Sunday afternoon.
The top seed for each of the 16 four-player groups are the top 16 players in order of their position in the Official World Golf Ranking. The remaining three players in each group were determined by a blind draw from each of three pools depending on their standing in the OWGR.
Eight players advanced out of Group Play undefeated this year; Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Soren Kjeldsen, Jon Rahm, Alex Noren, William McGirt, Phil Mickelson and Paul Casey.
Dustin Johnson (1), Alex Noren (8), Paul Casey (12), Bubba Watson (13) and Phil Mickelson (14) were the top seeds in their respective groups who advanced.
Soren Kjeldsen (62), Charles Howell (61) and Hideto Tanihara (54) were the bottom seeds in their respective groups who advanced.
Two top seeds advance
With three points each, Dustin Johnson (1) and Alex Noren (8) were the only two players among the top 10 seeds to advance to the round of 64. The other eight players combined for 8.5 points.
Two ways to win
En route to a 3-0 record in Group Play, William McGirt hit only 52.83 percent of Greens in Regulation but scrambled to save par on 22 of 25 occasions. Contrast that with Brooks Koepka, who also advanced with a 3-0 record after hitting 79.55 percent of Greens in Regulation.
In winning two matches with a conceded win in the third, Alex Noren hit only 50 percent of his Greens in Regulation, but led the field in Strokes Gained – Putting (2.174). Dustin Johnson was second in Strokes Gained – Putting (1.955).
Five players advanced from Group Play after sudden death playoffs were required when points were tied;
*Marc Leishman defeated Lee Westwood and Pat Perez with a birdie at the second extra hole.
*Ross Fisher defeated Louis Oosthuizen with a birdie at the second extra hole.
*Kevin Na defeated Matthew Fitzpatrick with a birdie at the first extra hole.
*Charles Howell III defeated Rafa Cabrara Bello with a birdie at the fifth extra hole after Tyrrell Hatton was eliminated at the first extra hole.
*Bill Haas defeated K.T. Kim with a birdie at the sixth extra hole.
Of the nine players making their Dell Technologies Match Play debut, three players – Hideto Tanihara (Japan), Jon Rahm (Spain) and William McGirt (United States) – advanced to the round of 16.
I’ll have half
Although he didn’t advance, Ryan Moore was the only player in the field to halve all three matches in Group Play. In R1, Moore was 1 up with one hole remaining but an Ikeda birdie won the hole to halve the match. In R2 against Tanihara, Moore was all square playing the final hole before making a seven-foot birdie putt to force Tanihara to make his three-foot putt to halve the match. Against Spieth in R3, Moore was trailing by one hole with three to play before winning 16 with a birdie and halving the last two holes with pars.
Dustin Johnson (1) 3-0-0 3 10-9-0
Martin Kaymer (41) 2-1-0 2 16-11-0
Jimmy Walker (18) 1-2-0 1 3-8-0
Webb Simpson (58) 0-3-0 0 7-7-0
Group 1, round-by-round
RD. 1 — Johnson defeated Simpson, 5 and 3; Kaymer defeated Walker, 3 and 2
RD. 2 – Johnson defeated Kaymer, 3 and 2; Walker defeated Simpson, 3 and 2
RD. 3 (FRI.) – Johnson defeated Walker, 5 and 3; Kaymer defeated Simpson, 3 and 2
Johnson quickly established his dominance over Walker, getting to 6 up through seven holes in R3, including an eagle at the par-5 6th hole. Although Walker won consecutive holes with birdies at 11 and 12, his challenge came too late. With a 5 and 3 win over Walker, Johnson remains undefeated and cruised into the round of 16.
Johnson meets Zach Johnson in R4.
Johnson, who started his Dell Technologies Match Play career just 2-6 between 2009-2014, is 8-3 since that time including a 3-0 record this week.
Johnson, who won the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship for the second time in his career earlier this month, is seeking to become the first player to win each of the four World Golf Championships events, with the Dell Technologies Match Play title the only one missing from his resume. Johnson’s WGC victories came at the HSBC Champions (2013), the Mexico Championship (2015), the Bridgestone Invitational (2016) and the Mexico Championship (2017).
Johnson and Tiger Woods (18) are the only players with four or more World Golf Championships victories. Although Woods has 18 victories, he failed to collect the HSBC Champions trophy, where he finished T6 in 2009 and 2010 in his only two appearances.
With a win at this year’s event, Johnson would join Rory McIlroy (2015) and Tiger Woods as the third player to win the Dell Technologies Match Play as a No. 1 seed. Woods won the tournament three times (2008, 2004 and 2003) as the No. 1 seed.
Johnson (2), Justin Thomas (3) and Hideki Matsuyama (2) are multiple winners on the PGA TOUR this season.
Johnson (14/2008-present) has at least one win in each of his first ten seasons on the PGA TOUR (the best current streak) and joins Arnold Palmer (17/1955-1971), Jack Nicklaus (17/1962-1978) and Tiger Woods (14/1996-2009) as the only players since 1960 to achieve this feat.
Last season, Johnson claimed the Jack Nicklaus Trophy as PGA TOUR Player of the Year. He also took home the Byron Nelson Award for Adjusted Scoring Average (69.172) and the Arnold Palmer Award as the TOUR’s leading money-winner ($9,365,185) and also finished No. 2 in the FedExCup standings.
Johnson has a 4-3-0 overall record in two Ryder Cup appearances but has won both singles matches. In two Presidents Cup appearances, his record is 4-4-1 with one singles victory. Johnson is No. 1 in the current standings for the 2017 Presidents Cup U.S. Team with 7,027 points.
Soren Kjeldsen (62) 3-0-0 3 3-4-1
Gary Woodland (33) 1-2-0 1 7-5-0
Rory McIlroy (2) 1-1-1 1.5 23-9-2
Emiliano Grillo (26) 0-2-1 0.5 1-4-1
Group 2 round-by-round
RD. 1 – Kjedlsen defeated McIlroy 2 and 1, Woodland defeated Grillo, 3 and 2
RD. 2 – McIlroy defeated Woodland, concession; Kjeldsen defeated Grillo, 4 and 3
RD. 3 (FRI.) – McIlroy halved with Grillo; Kjeldsen defeated Woodland, concession
Kjeldsen, who advanced without hitting a shot on Friday after Gary Woodland withdrew before R2 due to personal reasons, moves to the round of 16 for the first time in his fourth start at the Dell Technologies Match Play. Kjeldsen lost his opening-round matches in his first two appearances (2009/lost to Vijay Singh, 2 and 1, 2010/lost to Y.E Yang, 2 and 1). Last year he failed to advance out of Group Play.
Kjeldsen’s most recent victory came on the European Tour at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in 2015. He and partner Thorbjorn Olesen also won the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf in November representing Denmark. He has four career wins on the European Tour.
McIlroy halved with Grillo in a match that did not have any effect on Kjeldsen advancing no matter the outcome. McIlroy owns 23 wins in his career at the Dell Technologies Match Play, tied for third with Ian Poulter. His career record at this event is now 23-9-2. Tiger Woods has the most wins in tournament history with 33.
Woodland, who won his first match against Grillo, conceded matches against Rory McIlroy on Thursday and against Soren Kjeldsen on Friday, finishing the week 1-2-0. With one point earned, he will receive official money and FedExCup points.
Marc Leishman (28) 2-1-0 2 5-5-1
Lee Westwood (43) 2-1-0 2 17-19-0
Jason Day (3) 0-3-0 0 21-9-0
Group 3 round-by-round
RD. 1 — Perez defeated Day, concession; Leishman defeated Westwood, 3 and 2
RD. 2 – Westwood defeated Day, concession; Perez defeated Leishman, 3 and 1
RD. 3 (FRI.) – Leishman defeated Day, concession; Westwood defeated Perez, 2 and 1
*Leishman defeated Westwood and Perez with a birdie at the second extra hole.
With Westwood’s 2 and 1 win over Pat Perez, Leishman, who sat out R3 after Jason Day had conceded, had a chance to advance as all players finished Group Play with 2 points. Leishman took advantage of his opportunity, winning the three-man playoff with a birdie from eight feet at the second extra hole to advance to the round of 16 where he will meet Phil Mickelson.
Leishman has played a total of 35 holes, including a conceded match, over the first three rounds while Mickelson has played 42 holes in the same period.
Leishman is seeking to win in back-to-back weeks following his victory at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. The last player to win in back-to-back weeks was Justin Thomas at the 2017 SBS Tournament of Champions and Sony Open in Hawaii.
Along with two PGA TOUR titles (2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational, 2012 Travelers Championship), Leishman owns five international victories on three different Tours, including three in his native Australia, one in Korea (2006 Jisan Resort Open) and one on the European Tour (2015 Nedbank Golf Challenge).
Leishman has represented the International Team twice at The Presidents Cup and owns a 3-4-1 overall record. In his most recent appearance in 2015 in Korea, Leishman posted a 1-up win over Jordan Spieth in the final-day singles matches. In 2013, he defeated Matt Kuchar 1-up in singles. He currently sits No. 8 in the International Team points standings for the 2017 Presidents Cup to be held at Liberty National in New Jersey later this year.
In April 2015, Leishman’s wife Audrey almost died of toxic shock syndrome. Now, Audrey is healthy and expecting the couple’s third child, a girl.
Jason Day withdrew from the event before finishing his first-round match. He shared that his mother was schedule to have surgery on Friday after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Day chose to travel back to Ohio to be with his mother for the surgery.
Due to his withdrawal, Day conceded all three of his first-round matches, meaning Westwood received a point without teeing it up on Thursday, as did Leishman on Friday. Day will receive last-place official money and last-place FedExCup points.
Louis Oosthuizen (23) 2-1-0 2 17-8-0
Hideki Matsuyama (4) 0-2-1 ½ 6-5-1
Group 4 round-by-round
RD. 1 — Matsuyama halved with Furyk; Oosthuizen defeated Fisher, 4 and 3.
RD. 2 – Fisher defeated Matsuyama, 2 and 1; Furyk defeated Oosthuizen, 3 and 2
RD. 3 (FRI.) – Oosthuizen defeated Matsuyama, 6 and 4; Fisher defeated Furyk, 4 and 2
*Fisher defeated Oosthuizen with a birdie at the second extra hole.
Oosthuizen and Fisher recorded comfortable victories against their respective opponents in R3 to finish with 2 points each and set up a playoff to determine who advanced to the round of 16. Oosthuizen lost his opening hole to Matsuyama but rebounded by winning the next three holes. He was 5 up at the turn and secured the match 6 and 4. Fisher was bogey-free in his 4 and 2 win over Furyk. The pair matched pars at the first extra hole of sudden death and Fisher posted a birdie at the second extra hole to advance.
England’s Fisher was one of six first-round leaders at the Mexico Championship earlier this month, where he fired a final-round 65, which included nine birdies, to finish T3. That result was his sixth top-10 in 63 career starts on the PGA TOUR. It also matched his best finish on the PGA TOUR (T3/2015 WGC-HSBC Champions).
Fisher is making his 16th start in a World Golf Championships event. In the 2009 Dell Technologies Match Play, Fisher advanced to the semifinals where he was beaten by fellow countryman Paul Casey 2 and 1 before falling in the consolation match to Stewart Cink 1-up.
Fisher owns five wins on the European Tour (2007 KLM Open, 2008 European Open, 2009 Volvo World Match Play Championship, 2010 3 Irish Open, 2014 Tshwane Open).
Fisher entered the Mexico Championship at No. 72 in the Official World Golf Ranking and moved to No. 55 with his T3 to earn a spot in the field this week.
In his eighth start in the Dell Technologies Match Play, Oosthuizen, who lost last year’s Championship Match to Jason Day (5 and 4), failed to progress beyond R3 for the first time since 2013.
Hideto Tanihara (54) 2-0-1 2½ 2-0-1
Jordan Spieth (5) 1-1-1 1.5 9-4-1
Ryan Moore (32) 0-0-3 1.5 7-8-4
Group 5 round-by-round
RD. 1 — Tanihara defeated Spieth 4 and 2; Ikeda and Moore, halved
RD. 2 – Spieth defeated Ikeda, 4 and 2; Moore and Tanihara, halved
RD. 3 (FRI.) – Spieth halved with Moore; Tanihara defeated Ikeda, 3 and 1
Tanihara’s win over countryman Ikeda sealed a spot in the round of 16 for the Japanese player in his first Dell Technologies Match Play appearance. Tanihara made four consecutive birdies on holes 3 through 6 to establish a 2 up lead which he never relinquished. A birdie 2 at the par-3 17th secured the 3 and 1 win.
Tanihara joins Jon Rahm and William McGirt as first-timers who advanced to the round of 16 at the Dell Technologies Match Play this year.
In round one, Tanihara, who has won three times on the Japan Golf Tour in the last year, defeated Austin favorite Jordan Spieth, 4 and 2. Tanihara is ranked 13th in the International Team Presidents Cup standings as he looks to make the team for the first time in his career. The 38-year-old has 13 international victories and is playing in the Dell Technologies Match Play for the first time.
Moore was the only player in the field to halve all three matches in Group Play. In R1, Moore was 1 up with one hole remaining but an Ikeda birdie won the hole to halve the match. In R2 against Tanihara, Moore was all square playing the final hole before making a seven-foot birdie putt to force Tanihara to make his three-foot putt to halve the match. Against Spieth in R3, Moore was trailing by one hole with three to play before winning 16 with a birdie and halving the last two holes with pars.
In six starts this season Spieth has four top-10s – a victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am followed a T3 at the SBS Tournament of Champions, a third at the Sony Open in Hawaii and a T9 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. During the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, Spieth shot a tournament-low 8-under 63 in the third round, eventually finishing T12. His week included four hole-outs from off the green, the most by any player that week.
Justin Thomas (6) 1-2-0 1 1-5-0
Matt Fitzpatrick (27) 2-1-0 2 3-3-0
Chris Wood (49) 1-2-0 1 1-7-0
Group 6 round-by-round
RD. 1 — Thomas defeated. Wood, 2 and 1; Na defeated Fitzpatrick, 5 and 4
RD. 2 – Na defeated Thomas, 4 and 2; Fitzpatrick defeated Wood, 3 and 2
RD. 3 (FRI.) – Fitzpatrick defeated Thomas, 2 and 1; Wood defeated Na, 2 and 1
*Na defeated Fitzpatrick with a birdie at the first extra hole.
With Na losing to Wood and Fitzpatrick defeating Thomas, Na and Fitzpatrick finished Group Play tied with 2 points each and required a playoff to determine who advanced. Na hit his approach shot on the first hole of sudden death to within three feet of the hole and watch Fitzpatrick get up and down from right of the green. When Na calmly rolled in the birdie putt he advanced to the round of 16. Na described the approach shot with a sand wedge “as one of the most clutch shots I’ve ever hit in my professional career.”
Na is now 5-5-1 in the Dell Technologies Match Play. This marks the first time he has advanced beyond R3. Last year, Na halved with Rory McIlroy in R3 before being defeated by McIlroy on the second extra hole of a playoff to determine who advanced out of Group Play.
Na is currently No. 13 on the Presidents Cup (United States) points list with 2,453. Dustin Johnson leads the list with 7,027.
Although he didn’t advance, Wood claimed his first win in his eighth match in the Dell Technologies Match Play with a 2 and 1 victory over Na. After starting bogey, double bogey, Wood was 2 down early but added 6 birdies and an eagle at the par-5 12th hole to win the match. He won six consecutive holes from No. 8-13. Wood is now 1-7 in matches at the Dell Technologies Match Play.
Sergio Garcia (7) 1-1-1 1½ 19-17-1
Shane Lowry (53) 0-2-1 ½ 3-7-2
Kevin Chappell (38) 1-2-0 1 1-2-0
Group 7 round-by-round
RD. 1 – Garcia and Lowry, halved; Rahm defeated Chappell, 3 and 2
RD. 2 – Garcia defeated Chappell, 4 and 3; Rahm defeated Lowry, 2 and 1
RD. 3 (FRI.) – Rahm defeated Garcia, 6 and 4; Chappell defeated Lowry, 1 up
Rahm faced fellow Spaniard, Garcia, in the third round to determine who would advance to the round of 16. Rahm took the lead with a birdie at the third hole in R3. He won the fourth with a bogey before giving one back at the fifth. Back-to-back birdies at nine and 10 earned Rahm a 3-up lead. With three consecutive wins on holes on 12, 13 and 14, he closed out the match 6 and 4.
This is Rahm’s second appearance in a World Golf Championships event, having finished T3 at the Mexico Championship earlier this month. By comparison, Garcia competed in his 52nd WGC event this week, second-most behind Lee Westwood (57).
Rahm claimed his first win on TOUR in just his 17th start when he won the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year.
Rahm is one of nine players making their first appearance at the Dell Technologies Match Play. Others include Tyrrell Hatton, Kevin Chappell, Jeunghun Wang, William McGirt, Brendan Steele, Si Woo Kim, Hideto Tanihara and Jhonattan Vegas. Rahm, Tanihara and McGirt advanced to the round of 16.
Alex Noren (8) 3-0-0 3 4-2-0
Bernd Wiesberger (36) 2-1-0 2 3-6-1
Thongchai Jaidee (57) 1-2-0 1 6-8-1
Francesco Molinari (25) 0-3-0 0 2-10-0
Group 8 round-by-round
RD. 1 — Noren defeated Jaidee, 3 and 2; Wiesberger defeated Molinari, 2-up
RD. 2 – Jaidee defeated Molinari, 5 and 3; Noren defeated Wiesberger, 3 and 2
RD. 3 (FRI.) – Noren defeated Molinari, concession; Wiesberger defeated Jaidee, 1 up
In his third Dell Technologies Match Play start and his first since 2013, Alex Noren improved to 3-0-0 with a conceded victory over Francesco Molinari, who withdrew with a wrist injury following the completion of the second round. Noren advances beyond R3 for the first time. He lost to Geoff Ogilvy in R1 in 2010. After defeating Dustin Johnson (6 and 4) in R1 of 2013, Graeme McDowell ended his run at the 20th hole in R2.
Noren owns eight European Tour titles, including four wins in 2016. This week marks his 27th PGA TOUR start where his lone top-10 finish came at The Open Championship in 2012 (T9).
In 12 previous World Golf Championship appearances, Noren’s best result is T12 at this season’s HSBC Champions.
Brooks Koepka (20) 3-0-0 3 8-3-0
Kevin Kisner (34) 2-1-0 2 3-3-0
Patrick Reed (9) 0-2-1 ½ 6-5-1
Jason Dufner (59) 0-2-1 ½ 4-9-1
Group 9 round-by-round
RD. 1 — Reed halved with Dufner; Koepka defeated Kisner, 6 and 5
RD. 2 – Koepka defeated Dufner, 6 and 5; Kisner defeated Reed, 1-up
RD. 3 (FRI.) – Koepka defeated Reed, 1 up; Kisner defeated Dufner, 2 and 1
Koepka required a halved match or a win to advance to the round of 16 and secured his spot with a 1 up win over 2016 Ryder Cup teammate Reed. Koepka birdied the opening hole to gain a 1-up lead and was 3 up after 11. He lost 15 and 16 to Reed birdies but managed to hang on and remain undefeated after Group Play.
Koepka entered the Dell Technologies Match Play having missed four of his last six cuts on the PGA TOUR and hasn’t finished better than T42 since his runner-up finish in Las Vegas in November.
Koepka advanced through the group stage and into the quarterfinals in last year’s Dell Technologies Match Play before losing to eventual champion Jason Day, 3 and 2.
Tyrrell Hatton (10) 2-1-0 2 2-1-0
Rafa Cabrera Bello (22) 2-1-0 2 8-4-1
Charles Howell III (61) 2-1-0 2 7-9-0
Jeunghun Wang (40) 0-3-0 0 0-3-0
Group 10 round-by-round
RD. 1 — Hatton defeated Howell, 2 and 1; Cabrera Bello defeated Wang, 4 and 3
RD. 2 – Hatton defeated Wang, 2-up; Howell defeated Cabrera Bello, 1-up
RD. 3 (FRI.) – Cabrera Bello defeated Hatton, 2 and 1; Howell defeated Wang, 2 and 1
*Howell defeated Cabrara Bello with a birdie at the fifth extra hole after Hatton was eliminated at the first extra hole.
With Hatton’s 2 and 1 loss to Cabrera Bello, combined with Howell’s 2 and 1 win against Wang, who failed to win a match, the trio headed to sudden death with 2 points apiece to determine who would advance. Hatton was eliminated at the first hole in the strokeplay playoff when he suffered a penalty for failing to replace his ball in its original position after accidentally moving his ball on the putting surface. The fourth extra hole was halved with bogeys before Howell birdied No. 5 to defeat Cabrera Bello and advance out of Group Play.
This marks the first time in nine appearances that Howell has progressed beyond R3.
In his most recent appearance in this event, Howell defeated Tiger Woods in the opening round match in 2013, but lost 6 and 5 to Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano in R2.
Russell Knox (17) 1-2-0 1 2-3-1
Danny Willett (11) 1-2-0 1 8-4-1
Group 11 round-by-round
RD. 1 — Kim defeated Willett, 4 and 2; Knox defeated Haas, 3 and 2
RD. 2 – Haas defeated Willett, 6 and 5; Kim defeated Knox, 3 and 1
RD. 3 (FRI.) – Willett def. Knox, 4 and 2; Haas def. Kim, 4 and 2
*Haas defeated Kim with a birdie at the sixth extra hole.
A playoff was required to determine the winner of this group when Haas defeated Kim in R3 by a 4 and 2 margin. The pair waited for almost 90 minutes to return to the first tee to begin sudden death. Six extra holes were required with Haas advancing following a birdie at the par-5 sixth hole. Haas had a fortunate moment in the playoff, holing a 40-yard pitch shot for par to halve the hole after finding the hazard and taking a penalty.
Last year, Haas lost to Chris Kirk (2 and 1) in R4, the only time in six previous appearances he had advanced beyond R3.
Charl Schwartzel (24) 2-1-0 2 13-9-0
Byeong Hun An (45) 0-3-0 0 1-4-2
Joost Luiten (60) 1-2-0 1 3-4-0
Group 12 round-by-round
RD. 1– Casey defeated Luiten, 2 and 1; Schwartzel defeated An, 6 and 5
RD. 2 – Schwartzel defeated Luiten, 4 and 3; Casey defeated An, 2 and 1
RD. 3 (FRI.) – Casey defeated Schwartzel, 4 and 3; Luiten defeated An, 1 up
Casey did what he needed to do to advance to the round of 16 – defeat Charl Schwartzel. Casey lost the first hole but reached the turn 2 up. Four consecutive birdies on holes 11-14 moved him to 4 up and he closed out the match with a par at No. 15 to win 4 and 3.
Casey was eliminated in the first round in each of his first four starts at this event (2003-2006). Since then, he has advanced to at least the third round in all but one year and has reached the championship match twice, finishing runner-up to Geoff Ogilvy in 2009 and Ian Poulter in 2010.
Bubba Watson (13) 2-0-1 2.5 14-7-2
Thomas Pieters (30) 1-1-1 1.5 2-2-2
Jhonattan Vegas (55) 2-1-0 2 2-1-0
Scott Piercy (39) 0-3-0 0 3-5-2
Group 13 round-by-round
RD. 1 – Watson defeated Vegas, 1-up; Pieters defeated Piercy, 3 and 2
RD. 2 – Watson defeated Piercy, 4 and 3; Vegas defeated Pieters, 3 and 1
RD. 3 (FRI.) – Watson halved with Pieters; Vegas defeated Piercy, 3 and 1
Watson required a halve or a win to advance in R3 and managed to hang on against Pieters in a match that went to the 18th hole. Watson was 1 down with five holes remaining before birdies at 14 and 16 reversed the lead in his favor. A birdie by Pieters at 17 had the pair level heading to the 18th hole where they both made par to halve the match.
This week marks the first time that Watson has progressed beyond R3 in this event since his first appearance in 2011 when he lost to Martin Kaymer (1 up) in the semifinal before losing to Matt Kuchar (2 and 1) in the Consolation Match.
Watson has the best result by a left-hander in this event, finishing fourth in 2011. Phil Mickelson (T5/2004) and Nick O’Hern (T5/2001, 2005) also own top-five finishes at the dell Technologies Match Play.
Phil Mickelson (14) 3-0-0 3 21-12-0
Daniel Berger (35) 1-2-0 1 1-5-0
J.B. Holmes (31) 0-2-1 ½ 6-7-2
Si Woo Kim (63) 1-1-1 1½ 1-1-1
Group 14 round-by-round
RD. 1 – Mickelson defeated Kim, 5 and 2; Berger defeated Holmes, 7 and 5
RD. 2 – Mickelson defeated Berger, 5 and 4; Holmes vs. Kim
RD. 3 (FRI.) – Mickelson defeated Holmes, 6 and 5; Kim defeated Berger, 1 up
Phil Mickelson, playing in the 50th World Golf Championships event of his career, defeated J.B Holmes 6 and 5 to win his 21st career match at the Dell Technologies Match Play.
Mickelson was all square with a par 4 at the opening hole in his first-round match with Si Woo Kim before winning the second hole with a bogey to go 1 up. Mickelson has led 41 of the 42 holes he has played in three matches.
In 12 previous appearances at the Dell Technologies Match Play, Mickelson had advanced beyond R3 just once, in 2004, losing to Davis Love III, 1-up in the Quarterfinals. Last year, he lost to Patrick Reed (5 and 4) after wins against Matthew Fitzpatrick (5 and 4) and Daniel Berger (1 up) and did not advance out of Group Play.
Mickelson is No. 12 in the Presidents Cup (United States) points list.
Branden Grace (15) 1-2-0 1 5-7-0
William McGirt (48) 3-0-0 3 3-0-0
Brandt Snedeker (19) 2-1-0 2 7-8-1
Andy Sullivan (52) 0-3-0 0 3-6-0
Group 15 round-by-round
RD. 1 – Grace defeated Sullivan, 4 and 2; McGirt defeated Snedeker, 2-up
RD. 2 – McGirt defeated Branden Grace, 2 and 1; Snedeker vs. Sullivan
RD. 3 (FRI.) – Snedeker defeated Grace, 5 and 4; McGirt defeated Sullivan, 1 up
McGirt required a half or a win to advance out of Group Play and managed to go undefeated in three rounds with his 1 up victory over Sullivan in R3. This marks McGirt’s first appearance in the Dell Technologies Match Play.
This is McGirt’s third World Golf Championships event. He posted a T7 at last year’s Bridgestone Invitational and finished T28 at the Mexico Championship earlier this month.
McGirt has made six cuts in 10 starts on TOUR season with one top-10 finish – T9 at the SBS Tournament of Champions.
McGirt earned his lone PGA TOUR title at last year’s Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.
Brendan Steele (50) 1-1-1 1½ 1-1-1
Tommy Fleetwood (29) 1-2-0 1 4-4-0
Zach Johnson (44) 2-1-0 2 14-13-0
Matt Kuchar (16) 1-1-1 1½ 21-8-2
Group 16 round-by-round
RD. 1 – Kuchar halved with Steele; Fleetwood defeated Johnson, 1-up
RD. 2 – Johnson defeated Kuchar, 2-up; Steele defeated Fleetwood, 1-up
RD. 3 (FRI.) – Kuchar defeated Fleetwood, 4 and 2; Johnson defeated Steele, 1 up
When Kuchar defeated Fleetwood early in the day, Johnson required a win over Steele to advance while Steele could have progressed with a halved match. Johnson had the upper hand with a 3 up lead at the turn but Steele clawed his way back, winning Nos. 16 and 17 to pull all square. When Steele missed a six-foot putt for par at the final hole, Johnson rolled in his three-footer for par to win the hole and the match.
Last year, Johnson posted three wins in Group Play to advance to R4 where he lost to Rory McIlroy (1 up). Before last year, the only other time Johnson went beyond R3 was in 2006 when he finished third, defeating Tom Lehman (1 up) in the Consolation Match.
Johnson, a 12-time winner on TOUR, is making his 40th World Golf Championships start.