2017 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Semifinal

394
Jon Rahm

Weather

Sunday: Cloudy with a high of 88. S wind at 15-20 mph with gusts to 30 mph at times.

 

Format

Following the group format, the Round of 16 becomes single elimination, followed by the Quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon. The Semifinals on Sunday morning are followed by the Championship Match and Consolation Match on Sunday afternoon.

 

Starting with the quarterfinals, matches requiring extra holes will begin on the 12th hole for the remainder of the event.

 

Semifinal results –

Seed      Player                                                  Seed      Player                                  Result                                 

21           Jon Rahm (ESP)             def.              42           Bill Haas (USA)                    3 and 2

1             Dustin Johnson (USA)   def.              54           Hideto Tanihara (JPN)        1 up

 

First timers

Of the nine players making their Dell Technologies Match Play debut, Jon Rahm (Spain), advanced to the Championship Final. Geoff Ogilvy is the only player to win this event in his first appearance, in 2006.

 

Global field

Of the 20 countries represented by the field, two countries are represented in the Final:

  • USA – Johnson
  • Spain – Rahm

 

FedExCup

Hideki Matsuyama, eliminated Friday after Group Play, leads the FedExCup with 1,746 points. The winner of the Dell Technologies Match Play title will earn 550 FedExCup points. With a victory, Johnson would move to No. 1 in the FedExCup standings with 1,903 points. A win for Rahm would move him into the top five. The runner-up will collect 315 points. Here are the current FedExCup standings of the remaining two players.

Player                                                 Standing               Points

Dustin Johnson                                  3                                           1,353

Jon Rahm                                           7                                           941

 

Match 109 – Jon Rahm defeated Bill Haas, 3 and 2

Jon Rahm continued his excellent play this week to advance to the Championship Final with a 3 and 2 win over Bill Haas. Although he lost the third hole with a bogey and trailed Haas, the Spaniard posted three consecutive birdies to get to 1 up through six holes. Haas claimed the seventh hole with a par and was all square until No. 12. Rahm’s birdie at 13 gave him the lead once again, which he doubled with another birdie at No. 15. Rahm holed a seven-foot putt for an additional birdie to win the match at the 16th hole.

 

Rahm’s path to the Championship Final

RD. 1 – Rahm defeated Kevin Chappell, 3 and 2

RD. 2 – Rahm defeated Shane Lowry, 2 and 1

RD. 3 – Rahm defeated Sergio Garcia, 6 and 4

RD. of 16 – Rahm defeated Charles Howell III, 6 and 4

QF. – Rahm defeated Soren Kjeldsen, 7 and 5

SF. – Rahm defeated Haas, 3 and 2

 

At 22 years, 4 months and 17 days, Rahm would be the youngest winner in the history of the World Golf Championships, besting Patrick Reed, who won the Mexico Championship at 23 years, 7 months and 4 days. Rory McIlroy is the youngest winner in tournament history having won in 2015 at 25 years, 11 months and 25 days.

 

With a victory, Rahm would be the youngest player since Jordan Spieth with two wins in the same season. Spieth was 21 years, 8 months, 16 days when he won the 2015 Masters following his Valspar Championship title a month earlier. Rahm earned his first win at the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this season to be the youngest winner on TOUR this season.

 

This is Rahm’s second appearance in a World Golf Championships event, having finished T3 at the Mexico Championship, won by Dustin Johnson earlier this month.  Rahm claimed his first win on TOUR in just his 17th start when he won the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year.

 

Rahm is seeking his second PGA TOUR victory in his 21st career start (16th as a professional). By comparison, Tiger Woods also claimed his second PGA TOUR title (1996 Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic) in his 21st career start, but seventh as a professional.

 

Rahm entered this week No. 25 in the Official World Ranking and is projected to move into the top 10 with a win.

 

Rahm becomes the first player from Spain to reach the final of the Dell Technologies Match Play. Last year, Rafa Cabrera Bello lost (4 and 2) to Louis Oosthuizen in the semifinal and went on to win the Consolation Match with a 3 and 2 victory over Rory McIlroy. In 2010, Sergio Garcia finished 4th after losing the Consolation Match to Camilo Villegas (5and 4).

 

Rahm’s 7 and 5 victory over Kjeldsen in R5 matches the largest winning margin this week. Daniel Berger also won 7 and 5, over J.B. Holmes in the opening round.

 

Haas’ path to the Consolation Match

RD. 1 – Russell Knox defeated Haas, 3 and 2

RD. 2 – Haas defeated Danny Willett, 6 and 5

RD. 3 –  Haas defeated K.T. Kim, 4 and 2

*Haas defeated K.T. Kim on the 6th playoff hole to advance

RD. of 16 – Haas defeated Kevin Na, 1-up

QF. – Haas defeated Phil Mickelson, 2 and 1

SF. – Haas lost to Rahm, 3 and 2

 

Headed into the Consolation Match, Haas now owns an 11-7-0 record in seven starts at the Dell Technologies Match Play.

 

No matter the result in the Consolation Match, Haas will earn his best finish in a World Golf Championships. Haas’ previous-best finish in a World Golf Championships was T4 at the 2016 HSBC Champions.

 

Haas was nearly eliminated from the event by K.T. Kim during the second playoff hole to advance from the group stage. After hitting his approach into the hazard, Haas holed a pitch from 40 yards to par the hole to continue the playoff which he would eventually win on the 6th extra hole.

 

Haas, the 2011 FedExCup champion, made the winning putt for the U.S. Presidents Cup team in the 2015 event in Korea with his father, Jay, serving as captain. He is currently No. 20 in the U.S. standings for this year’s event.

 

Haas was the most recent son of a PGA TOUR winner to win a TOUR event when he was victorious at the 2015 CareerBuilder Challenge.

 

Haas has yet to miss a cut in eight previous events this season with 6 top-20 finishes.

 

Match 110 – Dustin Johnson defeated Hideto Tanihara, 1 up

Dustin Johnson was required to play the 17th and 18th holes for the first time this week after Hideto Tanihara, the 54th seed, tested the world’s No. 1 player in an exciting semifinal match that went the distance. After winning the opening hole for the sixth time, Johnson bogeyed the second hole to fall to all square but immediately recovered to win the third with a par. An eagle, birdie combination at Nos. 6 and 7 extended his led to 3 up but Tanihara clawed back to all square at the 14th. With the match was all square at 17, and Tanihara over the green in the rough with his tee shot at the par-3 hole, Johnson, on his first visit to the hole all week, hit to seven feet and holed the putt for a 1 up lead. After driving in the rough on the final hole, Johnson missed the green and chipped to six feet while Tanihara had 15 feet for birdie to extend the match. When the Japanese star missed, Johnson rolled in the par putt to advance to the Championship Final.

 

Johnson’s path to the Championship Final

RD. 1 — Johnson defeated Webb Simpson, 5 and 3

RD. 2 – Johnson defeated Martin Kaymer, 3 and 2

RD. 3 – Johnson defeated Jimmy Walker, 5 and 3

RD. of 16 – Johnson defeated Zach Johnson, 5 and 4

QF. – Johnson defeated Alex Noren, 3 and 2

SF. – Johnson defeated Tanihara, 1 up

 

Johnson’s string of winning the opening hole extended to 6 of 6 this week. Five times Johnson established a 1-up lead with a birdie at the first hole. In R2, against Martin Kaymer, Johnson made par to win the opening hole.

 

Johnson, who started his Dell Technologies Match Play career just 2-6 between 2009-2014, is 11-3 since that time including a 6-0 record this week.

 

Johnson is seeking to win his third consecutive start on the PGA TOUR following victories at the Genesis Open and World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship this year. The last player to win three consecutive starts was Rory McIlroy in 2014 (The Open Championship, World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, PGA Championship).

 

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).

 

A victory for Johnson in the Dell Technologies Match Play would mark consecutive World Golf Championships wins following his Mexico Championship title. Tiger Woods was the last player to win consecutive WGC titles (2013 Mexico Championship, 2013 Bridgestone Invitational). Incidentally, Woods was the last player to win three WGC titles in a row (2007 Mexico Championship, 2007 Bridgestone Invitational, 2008 Dell Technologies Match Play).

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Tanihara’s path to the Consolation Match

RD. 1 — Tanihara defeated Jordan Spieth 4 and 2

RD. 2 –  Tanihara halved with Ryan Moore, halved

RD. 3 –  Tanihara defeated Yuta Ikeda, 3 and 1

RD. of 16 – Tanihara defeated Paul Casey, 2 and 1

QF. – Tanihara defeated Ross Fisher, 4 and 2

SF. – Tanihara lost to Johnson, 1 up

 

No matter the result in the Consolation Match, Tanihara will earn his best PGA TOUR finish this week. He owns two top-10 finishes in 43 previous career starts on TOUR – a T5 at The Open in 2006 and a T8 at the 2014 Sony Open in Hawaii.

 

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. With a win in the Consolation Match, Tanihara would move to No. 10 in the International Team Presidents Cup standings. With a loss, he would improve one position, from 13th to 12th.

 

Tanihara and Jon Rahm were the only first-timers who advanced to the semifinals at the Dell Technologies Match Play this year.

 

Tanihara joined Toru Taniguchi as the only players from Asia to reach the semifinals in the history of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play. In 2001, Taniguchi defeated fellow Japanese player Shigeki Maruyama in the quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals where he lost to Steve Stricker (2 and 1). Taniguchi went on to win the Consolation Match for third place with a 4 and 3 win over Ernie Els.

 

The 38-year-old has 14 international victories and was seeking to join his countryman Hideki Matsuyama as the only player from Asia to win a World Golf Championships event. Matsuyama won the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions last November.

 

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 began this week No. 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking. By advancing to the semifinals this week, Tanihara is projected to move comfortably inside the top-50 and earn a spot in the Masters Tournament in two weeks.

 

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