Justin Thomas has gained entry into this week's PLAYERS.
The PGA TOUR issued a release today acknowledging Victor Dubuisson's withdrawal that we relayed to you on Friday night. Justin Thomas was first alternate, but he has replaced the Frenchman in the field of 144 at TPC Sawgrass. (The published field should reflect this on Monday.) The rookie is 43rd in the FedExCup standings. He had last week off following a T11 at Harbour Town and a T12 at TPC Louisiana.
Danny Willett defeated Jim Furyk 3-and-2 in the consolation match of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play Championship to finish alone in third.
Willett completed his Cinderella run at his tournament debut by defeating the fifth-seeded Furyk. The match began slowly and was all square thru four holes before Willett squared his first bogey on the par-5 sixth to fall to 1-down. Furyk would maintain the margin until Willett circled birdie on No. 9 to turn even. The Englishman won the 10th as well to take his first lead in the match. He'd increase his advantage to 2-up with a birdie-3 on the 13th. Willett closed out the match when Furyk conceded the 16th. This was Willett's career-best finish in 13 PGA TOUR starts. He collected 200 non-member FedExCup points to total 331 on the season. That's eight more than necessary to qualify for Special Temporary Membership, which grants him unlimited starts, sponsor exemptions and a spot in the Beyond 150 reshuffle. He's already exempt into this week's PLAYERS.
Smylie Kaufman settled for a 1-over-par 34-39=73 in the final round of the United Leasing Championship to claim his first Web.com Tour victory at 10-under 278.
Kaufman cruised to a five-stroke margin of victory over Jonathan Randolph, Ryan Spears and Adam Long. The LSU product essentially put the tournament away when he picked off three consecutive birdies beginning with the second hole at Victoria National GC. He erased a bogey at the par-5 ninth with a birdie on the par-5 10th hole before trying to make things interesting with a pair of double bogeys on the back nine. The 23-year-old ranked inside the top five in both GIR and putting average, which is clearly a deadly combination on any layout. With this victory, he moves from 28th to fourth on the Web.com Tour money list and virtually assures himself of a 2015-16 PGA TOUR card.
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy cruised to a 4-and-2 win over Gary Woodland in the Championship Match of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play Championship and went an unblemished 7-0 on the week.
After a sluggish start from both players, McIlroy (the No. 1 seed overall) took early control of the finale, winning four holes in a row (Nos. 4-7), three with birdies. Woodland improbably reached the championship match as the 50-seed, even more so as he had not registered a match win in his previous two appearances in the tournament. The American finally settled into today's finale by winning the 11th and 12th holes, cutting his deficit to 2-down. He had a four-footer to win the 13th as well, but missed. McIlroy would close him out three holes later. This was McIlroy's second WGC win (2014 Bridgestone Invitational) and 10th PGA TOUR title of his career.
Rory McIlroy steals a 1-up win over Jim Furyk in the semifinals of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play Championship and the No. 1 seed will face the No. 50 seed Gary Woodland in the Championship Match.
After the pair halved the first with birdies, McIlroy took a 1-up lead on Furyk's bogey at No. 3. McIlroy immediately squared his own bogey at the next and the match is back to all square. The Northern Irishman regained the 1-up advantage with birdie on No. 5 and then chips-in for birdie from the rough at the seventh but Furyk answered dropping a 20-foot putt for a circle of his own to halve. Furyk answered again at No. 8 dropping his second lengthy birdie putt, this one from 19 feet. He snatched his first lead on the ninth after McIlroy failed to save par from a green-side bunker. McIlroy strikes back at the 11th, canning a 28-footer for birdie to get back to all square. Tree trouble on 12 for Furyk led to a double bogey-6 but he rebounded on the next converting a six-foot birdie to level the match once again. Furyk then moved to 1-up with another circle on the 15th and looked in control but McIlroy finished birdie-birdie and walk-off eagle on 18 to end the match in dramatic fashion.
Gary Woodland dispatched Danny Willett 3-and-2 in the semifinals of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play Championship.
Woodland conceded the fourth hole to Willett and the 27-year-old Englishman owned an early 2-up lead. After the duo exchanged birdie-4s on the fifth, Woodland reeled off two more birdies on Nos. 6 and 7 to claw back to all square. The American took his first lead of the match when Willett squared his first bogey at the par-4 eighth and he maintained his 1-up advantage through the 11th. The 30-year-old Woodland then stiffed his approach on 12 (from 72 yards out) to within four feet and converted the birdie to move to 2-up. Willett fought back to 1-down with birdie on the par-3 13th but a costly three-putt bogey from 23 feet on the 14th dropped him back to 2-down. Woodland ended the match on 16 dropping a 15-foot birdie putt to move on to the final.
Rory McIlroy outlasted Paul Casey in 22 holes in the quarterfinals of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play Championship and the No. 1 seed advances to face No. 5 seed Jim Furyk. The other semifinal will feature Danny Willett (No. 48) versus Gary Woodland (No. 50).
It took 22 holes (and a second day) to determine the final player to reach the semifinals but McIlroy outlasted the No. 36 seed Casey in a protracted battle. McIlroy was 1-up early on over the Englishman Casey but found himself 2-down (thru seven) as Casey circled birdies on Nos. 4, 5 and 7. A birdie-3 on 10 cut the Northern Irishman's deficit to 1-down and the match went all square at 13 as Casey squared his second bogey on the round. Casey went 1-up after McIlroy bogeyed 14 but his own bogey on 17 brought the match back to all square. Darkness suspended play on Saturday after 21 holes and when the match resumed Sunday morning McIlroy made quick work of Casey (who had fallen ill overnight) eliminating him with a birdie-4 on the 22nd hole.
With the match all square thru 21 holes, the last quarterfinal of the day between Paul Casey and Rory McIlroy was suspended at 8:00 p.m. PT due to darkness.
For the second match in as many days, world No. 1 Rory McIlroy rallied in the closing stages to force extra time, this time against the No. 36 seed Paul Casey. Unlike yesterday however, with McIlroy claiming a hard-earned win over Billy Horschel in 20 holes, darkness fell upon TPC Harding Park and stranded the duo after they halved the par-4 16th in pars. The match is scheduled to resume tomorrow at 6:45 a.m. PT. The winner will face Jim Furyk in the semifinals.