Up against the ropes after an opening round loss, Jordan Spieth responded with a 4-and-2 victory over Yuta Ikeda in round two of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, keeping his hopes alive for another day.
The local favorite suffered an upset to Hideto Tanihara in round one, so this was a must-win for Spieth. He didn't fire out of the gates but still found himself with a 2-up lead after the turn, despite carding a 1-over 36 if this were stroke play. That also goes to show how tough the conditions were at Austin Country Club as the winds were whipping all day and the greens firmed up as the day went on. Spieth added tap-in birdies at the 11th and 12th holes to increase his advantage to 3-up. The Texas Longhorn was able to coast home from there. The World No. 6 will now turn his attention to Ryan Moore, his Friday opponent. It will be another must-win situation for Spieth.
William McGirt scored his second upset victory at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play in Texas after beating 15th seed Branden Grace 2-and-1.
McGirt (48) took down Brandt Snedeker on day one and assured himself a playoff at minimum thanks to his battling win over Grace at windy Austin CC today. A 13'1" birdie conversion gave McGirt an early lead but Grace won the second and fifth to move 1-up and held that advantage to the turn. McGirt levelled the match at 10 and holed testy putts in the strong winds at 12 and 13 to jump into a 2-up lead. A bogey at 15 allowed Grace to cut that lead in half but when the South African missed from six feet at 17, McGirt holed from a similar distance to claim his second notable scalp. A half point tomorrow against Andy Sullivan will secure his spot in the Round of 16 and he wouldn't even need that if Grace v Snedeker match doesn't produce a winner. At worst, he'll get to try his luck in a playoff.
Soren Kjeldsen followed up his impressive Wednesday win with a 4-and-3 victory over Emiliano Grillo in round two of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, securing his spot in the Round of 16 and eliminating 2-seed Rory McIlroy in the process.
The Dane was a wrecking ball on day one, but fell behind early today. After a par-bogey start, Kjeldsen found himself 2-down. He responded with three birdies over the next four holes to square the score, all on putts from inside six feet. The duo traded blows over the next three holes before Kjeldsen escaped from the pack to win four straight holes after the turn. The Dane arrived this week with an 0-4-1 record at this event, but he's now secured his spot in the Round of 16 after back-to-back wins, knocking out World No. 2 in the process. Kjeldsen will have a rest day tomorrow as his would-be opponent Gary Woodland has withdrawn from the event for personal reasons.
John Rahm set up an all-Spanish winner-takes-all showdown with Sergio Garcia at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Texas after winning a second straight point via a battling 2-and-1 victory over Shane Lowry in round two.
Rahm came under pressure from his Irish rival today but, after walking off the 13th green all-square, the Arizona State alum won 14 with a par and 16 with a birdie-4 before closing out victory by halving the par-3 17th. Rahm never trailed at any point and took the lead for the first time after Lowry made a mess of the short fourth hole. A bogey-6 from Rahm at 6 allowed his opponent to level but the Spaniard was ahead again via a par at 7. With the wind continuing to cause havoc, the grind continued and Rahm's short putt at 16 was the only hole of the day won with birdie. A win's a win though and that's the name of the game on Friday with the winner of Rahm v Garcia reaching the Round of 16. However, Rahm has an extra half point so far so would advance if the match is halved.
Charles Howell III controlled the tone of the match en route to a 1-up victory over Rafa Cabrera Bello in round two of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, earning his first point of the week.
Playing in blustery conditions at Austin Country Club, CH3 looked unaffected as he circled birdies on the opening two holes to take an early 2-up advantage. He would add just one more birdie over the next 15 holes and even shanked one out of the greenside bunker at the 17th hole, leading to a double bogey. Despite the less-than-stellar play, CH3 still lead the match after 16 of the first 17 holes. He saved the best for last as he nearly holed out his pitch shot from 81'6" to tap-in for birdie and the win. With one point to his name, Howell III will need to beat Jeunghun Wang tomorrow and hope for a loss from Tyrrell Hatton who currently sits at 2-0-0 in Group 10.
Tyrrell Hatton put a second point on the board at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Texas, overcoming an early deficit to beat Korean youngster Jeunghun Wang 2-up in Thursday's second round.
The Englishman secured playing rights for the season on the PGA TOUR with a top four at Bay Hill last week and he's carried that momentum to Austin CC. A 2-and-1 winner over Charles Howell on day one, he initially struggled today. The first four holes were won with par but three went the way of Wang as Hatton bogeyed 1, 2 and 4 to find himself 2-down. The game then turned dramatically as Hatton won the next four holes with two birdies, a par and a concession to go 2-up. His lead oscillated between 1-up and 2-up on the back nine as he won 11 and 13 with birdies but lost 10, 12 and 15 but, still just the minimum margin ahead at 18, he put his approach to 12 feet and drained the putt to secure victory. Hatton will advance to the Round of 16 if he wins or halves Friday's match with last year's beaten semi-finalist Rafa Cabera-Bello.
No.1 seed Dustin Johnson had too much for Ryder Cup rival Martin Kaymer in round two of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Texas, sealing a 3-and-2 victory and a second straight win.
In windy conditions at Austin CC, DJ didn't need his best and won four holes with par. The first of those came at No. 1 and, after the next was halved in bogey, the American doubled his lead with an 8'4" birdie conversion at No.3. Johnson won 5 with a par and nailed a 20-foot par breaker at 7 to skip into a 4-up lead. Kaymer three times got himself back to 3-down with wins at 8, 12 and 15 but World No. 1 Johnson always kept him at arm's length and closed out victory at 16 with a fourth birdie of the round. The U.S. Open champ needs just to avoid defeat against Jimmy Walker in tomorrow's final group match to reach the Round of 16.
Pat Perez grabbed an early lead and never looked back in today's 2-and-1 victory over Australian Marc Leishman, escaping the second round of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play with two points to gain control of Group 3.
Perez applied the pressure early today, wedging his approach at the par-4 first to inside three feet, leading to an early concession by Leishman. The ASU product gave one away at the fourth hole, but bounced back immediately with another strong approach with his wedge at the par-4 fifth. The Aussie fought back to square things up at the tricky par-4 13th. Perez was fuming at that point, but Leishman gifted him a pair of bogeys at the next two holes to clear a path to victory for Perez. With this win, Perez is guaranteed at least a playoff chance to advance to the Sweet 16. His Friday opponent is Lee Westwood who sits at 1-1-0 after resting today since Jason Day withdrew from the event.