Planet Golf — 29 March 2019 by GW staff and news services
Speith among unbeatens in Match Play

AUSTIN, Texas — All matches are now in the books for Thursday’s play at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play. Ten players remain undefeated through the first two rounds, while 20 of the 64 players in the field have been eliminated from reaching the single-elimination stage this weekend at Austin Country Club.

Recaps of all 32 matches Thursday are below (seeds in parentheses).

Group 1

In a match with 11 lead changes, Grace produced the go-ahead birdie with a 38-foot putt at the 17th to knock off the top overall seed. That was the last of three consecutive birdies for Grace, as he rallied after Johnson had gone 1 up with a birdie at 14. Grace is now firmly in control of Group 1. Holes won: Grace 6, Johnson 5. Holes led: Grace 7, Johnson 3.
Said Grace: “It’s always nice to beat the No. 1 player in the world.”

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA (24) and CHEZ REAVIE (55), halved
Matsuyama was 1 up through 16, but conceded the 17th after an errant tee shot. Both players birdied the 18th to share the point.
Holes won: Matsuyama 5, Reavie 5. Holes led: Matsuyama 10, Reavie 1.

Group standings: Grace 2.0, Johnson 1.0, Matsuyama 0.5, Reavie 0.5

Group 2

JUSTIN ROSE (2) and EDDIE PEPPERELL (34), halved
An eagle at the par-5 sixth gave Pepperell the lead for 12 holes, but Rose rallied with three birdies in his final four holes to gain the half-point. Rose made birdie putts of 13, 23 and 10 feet in that final stretch, while Pepperell missed his birdie putt from 10 feet at the 18th that would’ve won the match. Holes won: Rose 5, Pepperell 5. Holes led: Rose 0, Pepperell 13.
Said Rose: “I had a great match with Eddie. He’s such a class individual, as well as player — to the point where you almost feel sorry for him by doing that to him over the last few holes.”

Five birdies in a six-hole stretch to end the front nine put Woodland in command, but Grillo kept chopping at the lead. Woodland was just 1 up after conceding the 16th, but matched Grillo’s 22-foot birdie putt at the 18th with a 3-footer to halve the hole and win the match. Holes won: Woodland 5, Grillo 4. Holes led: Woodland 15, Grillo 2.
Said Woodland: “Today was as good as I hit the ball in a long time.”

Group standings: Woodland 2.0, Rose 1.5, Pepperell 0.5, Grillo 0.0.

Group 3

HAOTONG LI (36) def. BROOKS KOEPKA (3), 1-up
The match was tied through 14, then Koepka missed a 7-foot par putt to open the door. Li then sealed it with a terrific approach into 18 that hit the flagstick and finished next to the hole. Holes won: Li 4, Koepka 3. Holes led: Li 14, Koepka 0.

ALEX NOREN (27) def. TOM LEWIS (60), 4 and 2
Noren opened with a bogey (matched by Lewis) and then stayed out of trouble the rest of the way, playing bogey-free golf with six birdies in the final 15 holes to cruise past Lewis. Holes won: Noren 5, Lewis 1. Holes led: Noren 15, Lewis 0.

Group standings: Li 2.0, Noren 1.0, Koepka 0.5, Lewis 0.5

Group 4

RORY McILROY (4) def. JUSTIN HARDING (47), 3 and 2
The match was tied at the turn, then Harding missed a short putt for the lead at 11 and he paid the price. McIlroy eagled 12 to move ahead and despite some stumbles, finished birdie, eagle on 15 and 16 to close out the match. Holes won: McIlroy 4, Harding 1. Holes led: McIlroy 13, Harding 0.
Said McIlroy: “I needed to play well today to beat Justin. He’s a very good player. I can see why he’s done well so far at the start of the year and just happy to get the win.”

LUKE LIST (64) def. MATTHEW FITZPATRICK (32), 2 and 1
List won his first career point after going 0-3 last season and losing on Wednesday. Sitting 1-down at the turn to the former U.S. Amateur winner List won the 10th thanks to Fitzpatrick’s three-putt bogey. He took his first lead on the 13th when Fitzpatrick found water, before a birdie on the par-5 16th set up the win. Holes won: List 4, Fitzpatrick 2. Holes led: List 5, Fitzpatrick 6.
Said List: “I don’t think either of us would be too pleased with how we played.”

Group standings: McIlroy 2.0, Harding 1.0, List 1.0, Fitzpatrick 0.0

Group 5

JUSTIN THOMAS (5) def. MATT WALLACE (33), 3 and 1
Thomas grabbed the lead for good with a birdie at the par-5 sixth, and Wallace stumbled in the last five holes (a bogey and two concessions) to give Thomas some breathing room down the stretch. Holes won: Thomas 6, Wallace 3. Holes led: Thomas 15, Wallace 0.

Bradley made a clutch putt at 18 for par to gain the half-point, but he was eliminated while Bjerregard still controls his own fate. Bjerregaard was 1-up through 14 when Bradley made back-to-back bogeys. The Dane then bogeyed the 16th to go square before an 18-foot birdie on 17 put him 1-up. Holes won: Bradley 6, Bjerregaard 6. Holes led: Bradley 6, Bjerregaard 5.

Group standings: Bjerregaard 1.5, Thomas 1.0, Wallace 1.0, Bradley 0.5

Tied through eight holes, the lead switched on each of the next five holes and DeChambeau finally blinked with a double at the 13th and bogey at the 14th. Aphibarnrat had just one red number in 17 holes – an eagle at the 5th – but parred the last seven holes. Holes won: Aphibarnrat 6, DeChambeau 4. Holes led: Aphibarnrat 8, DeChambeau 1.

MARC LEISHMAN (17) def. RUSSELL KNOX (59), 2-up
Three straight birdies midway in his front nine flipped the score in Leishman’s favor, and he maintained the lead the rest of the way. Leishman’s eagle at the 12th trumped Knox’s birdie, and his 19-foot birdie putt at 16 matched Knox’s birdie. Holes won: Leishman 4, Knox 2. Holes led: Leishman 12, Knox 4.

Group standings: Leishman 2.0, Aphibarnrat 1.0, DeChambeau 1.0, Knox 0.0.

Group 7

Molinari drove the green at the 335-yard par-4 fifth, then holed a 33-foot eagle putt that highlighted a terrific front nine. He was 4-up after seven holes and never opened the door for Olesen to rally. Holes won: Molinari 7, Olesen 3. Holes led: Molinari 13, Olesen 0.
Said Molinari: “I’m hitting the ball well and I’m making some putts at the right time, which is big in match play.”

WEBB SIMPSON (21) and SATOSHI KODAIRA (63), halved
Four consecutive birdies starting at the third hole put Kodaira in control. But Simpson rallied late with three straight birdies – the last two winning holes 16 and 17 to tie the match. Kodaira drove the green at the 18th, but three-putted from 48 feet, as he missed a 5-foot birdie putt that would’ve won the match. Holes won: Simpson 5, Kodaira 5. Holes led: Simpson 0, Kodaira 15.

Group standings: Molinari 2.0, Olesen 1.0, Simpson 0.5, Kodaira 0.5

Group 8

J.B. HOLMES (43) def. JON RAHM (8), 2 and 1
Holes won four of the first five holes with two birdies and two pars and was 6-up on the struggling Rahm through 10. From there, Rahm won four straight holes – two birdies, two pars – to make it interesting, but the rally fizzled from there. Holes won: Holmes 7, Rahm 5. Holes led: Holmes 17, Rahm 0.

MATT KUCHAR (23) def. SI WOO KIM (54), 6 and 4
Kuchar opened with a double bogey but was able to steady the ship with three consecutive birdies midway on the front side, then took command by winning the final four holes with two birdies, one par and one conceded hole. Holes won: Kuchar 8, Kim 2. Holes led: Kuchar 11, Kim 1.
Said Kuchar: “After losing the first, you know you’ve got 17 holes to make it up, there’s a lot of golf yet. I knew I was playing good golf yesterday, I was on good form today again.”

Group standings: Kuchar 2.0, Rahm 1.0, Holmes 1.0, Kim 0.0

Group 9

A tight match with included eight lead changes, Hatton’s birdie at the par-5 16th tied the match for the last time. Each had birdie putts from inside 20 feet on each of the last two holes but couldn’t convert. Holes won: Schauffele 4, Hatton 4. Holes led: Schauffele 3, Hatton 1.

Both players struggled for birdies, but Westwood rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt at the 18th to gain the half-point. He had been a birdie-free 5 over on his previous 12 holes, and was 1-down after a bogey at the 17th. Cabrera Bello’s only birdie came at the 16th when he tied the match. Holes won: Cabrera Bello 6, Westwood 6. Holes led: Cabrera Bello 1, Westwood 12.
Said Westwood: “Don’t know if you call it justice on the last. It’s more luck than judgment on the greens for me.”

Group standings: Schauffele 1.5, Hatton 1.5, Cabrera Bello 0.5, Westwood 0.5

Group 10

PAUL CASEY (10) and CHARLES HOWELL III (42), halved
Casey controlled the match with a bogey-free stretch from holes 3-17 but three-putted from 48 feet on the 18th hole as Howell escaped with a half-point. Howell was 2-down through 16 but started his rally with a birdie on the par-5 16th. Holes won: Casey 2, Howell 2. Holes led: Casey 13, Howell 0.

ABRAHAM ANCER (58) def. CAMERON SMITH (25), 3 and 2
Ancer stumbled out of the gate with four bogeys in his first five holes, but a 15-foot eagle putt at the par-5 sixth flipped the switch. He was a bogey-free 5 under on his last 11 holes and matched every birdie that Smith could produce. Holes won: Ancer 5, Smith 2. Holes led: Ancer 7, Smith 6

Group standings: Casey 1.5, Howell 1.5, Ancer 1.0, Smith 0.0

Group 11

TOMMY FLEETWOOD (11) and KYLE STANLEY (41), halved
A shaky start by Fleetwood fueled Stanley’s lead for the entire front nine. Fleetwood eventually grabbed the lead with a birdie at the 15th and was 2 up after a Stanley concession at 16. But Stanley won the final two holes with short birdie putts to gain the half-point. Holes won: Fleetwood 6, Stanley 6. Holes led: Fleetwood 3, Stanley 10.

Oosthuizen had eight birdies on his round, and also suffered four bogeys, although none of them lost him a hole. An won two of his three holes with eagles but missed a 7-foot par putt that would have halved the match. Holes won: Oosthuizen 4, An 3. Holes led: Oosthuizen 13, An 0.

Group standings: Fleetwood 1.5, Stanley 1.5, Oothuizen 1.0, An 0.0.

Group 12

JIM FURYK (52) def. PHIL MICKELSON (20), 1-up
In a match of the two oldest players in the field (48 years old each), Furyk was steady down the stretch. Mickelson found the water with his approach at the 13th, and his bogey gave Furyk the lead for good. Mickelson’s 28-foot birdie putt at the last hole was matched by Furyk’s from inside 3 feet. Holes won: Furyk 6, Mickelson 5. Holes led: Furyk 12, Mickelson 1.

HENRIK STENSON (37) def. JASON DAY (12), 4 and 3
Day, the 2016 Match Play champ, opened with a double bogey, was 3-down through four and only won one hole as Stenson controlled the match. Stenson birdied the second from off the green and has led after each of his 32 holes played this week. Holes won: Stenson 5, Day 1. Holes led: Stenson 15, Day 0.
Said Stenson: “I played pretty solid and didn’t give much for free, even though I tried on one or two occasions.”

Group standings: Stenson 2.0, Furyk 2.0, Day 0.0, Mickelson 0.0

Group 13

BRANDT SNEDEKER (44) def. TIGER WOODS (13), 2 and 1
A few costly errors for Woods — a three-putt bogey on the par-3 7th and a costly double bogey on the drivable par-4 13th — left Snedeker in control. When the three-time champion failed to birdie the par-5 16th, it was a mountain too high to climb. Holes won: Snedeker 5, Woods 3. Holes led: Snedeker 13, Woods 0.
Said Woods: “We both made a couple of mistakes out there, but he made a few less mistakes than I did.”
Said Snedeker: “”I’m probably the most hated man in Texas right now like that for a few holes. I bet you my kids were probably rooting for him late in the round.””

PATRICK CANTLAY (18) def. AARON WISE (61), 4 and 2
Bogey-free golf in windy conditions allowed Cantlay to get the chocolates in this battle of the young guns. Wise gave up two early holes with erratic shots into penalty areas but was just 1 down through 10 holes. Then he three-putted from 17 feet on the 11th and failed to birdie the par-5 12th to let Cantlay take the reins. Holes won: Cantlay 5, Wise 1. Holes led: Cantlay 15, Wise 0.

Group standings: Snedeker 1.5, Cantlay 1.5, Woods 1.0, Wise 0.0

Group 14

KEVIN KISNER (48) def. TONY FINAU (14), 2-up
Finau led the entire front nine, but suffered four 6s on his card and it eventually cost him. The final one came at the par-5 16th in a tied match. Kisner, solid on the back nine, ended it with a 21-foot birdie putt on the final hole. Holes won: Kisner 6, Finau 4. Holes led: Kisner 4, Finau 10.

KEITH MITCHELL (56) def. IAN POULTER (30), 1-up
Mitchell put the match play advice he received from Poulter on the plane ride to Austin to good use, as he struck the last blow in a tight match – the lead was never more than 1-up on either side — with a 19-foot birdie putt at the 16th. Holes won: Mitchell 5, Poulter 4. Holes led: Mitchell 12, Poulter 2.

Group standings: Finau 1.0, Poulter 1.0, Kisner 1.0, Mitchell 1.0.

Group 15

BILLY HORSCHEL (38) def. BUBBA WATSON (15), 2 and 1
Watson, the defending champion, will not advance to the weekend after losing his second match. Horschel was 3-up after a birdie at 10 but dropped the next two holes with a bogey and a Watson birdie. Horschel rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt at 16 that negated Watson’s birdie. Holes won: Horschel 5, Watson 3. Holes led: Horschel 17, Watson 0.
Said Horschel: “I love where my game is, and we’re just going to do exactly what we’ve done the last two days.”

JORDAN SPIETH (28) def. KEVIN NA (57), 3 and 2
A birdie-birdie-eagle stretch midway through the front nine gave Spieth a commanding lead, and after 12 holes, he was 6-up. Na won the next three holes with two pars and a birdie, and Spieth failed to close the match when he missed a 4-1/2 foot par putt. But Na then missed his own 4-1/2 foot, this one for birdie, to end the match at 17. Holes won: Spieth 7, Na 4. Holes led: Spieth 14, Na 0.
Said Spieth: “Really solid golf. I kind of shot myself in the foot to not just go ahead and close it out on 13.”

Group standings: Spieth 1.5, Horschel 1.5, Na 1.0, Watson 0.0

Group 16

SERGIO GARCIA (26) def. ANDREW PUTNAM (51), 5 and 4
Garcia was a bogey-free 3 under through 11 holes, and at that point he was 5-up against the self-destructed Putnam. Holes won: Garcia 5, Putnam 0. Holes led: Garcia 12, Putnam 0.
Said Garcia: “I drove the ball very, very well. Hit my irons really well. Gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities. Put pressure on him every single hole.”

PATRICK REED (16) and SHANE LOWRY (46), halved
Reed was 2 up as late as the 14th hole after a Lowry double bogey. But the Irishman bounced back with birdies at the 15th and 18th to forge the half-point. Holes won: Reed 6, Lowry 6. Holes led: Reed 11, Lowry 3.

Group standings: Garcia 2.0, Putnam 1.0, Reed 0.5, Lowry 0.5 \lsd

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