Match recaps for Saturday: WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play


Match recaps for Saturday: WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

ROUND OF 16

TOMMY FLEETWOOD (21) def. DYLAN FRITTELLI (64), 4 and 3

The fourth hole produced the spectacular for the second straight day as Tommy Fleetwood rode an ace on the way to a comprehensive round of 16 win over local hopeful Dylan Frittelli.

England’s Fleetwood won the first two holes to take the lead before Frittelli tried to mount a comeback with a birdie on the third. It was then that the match was turned on its head. As Frittelli found a bunker from the tee on the par-3 3rd Fleetwood took dead aim from 179 yards and came up with the hole-in-one. Sergio Garcia had produced a walk off ace on the same hole in a playoff against Lee Westwood on Friday. This time around it just sent Fleetwood to a 2-up lead but South African Frittelli – a University of Texas alum – never got closer from that point on. Fleetwood was 3-up at the turn and 4-up after 10. Frittelli managed to win the 12th hole but it was all over by the 15th.

Fleetwood said: “It was a smooth 7, carried onto the slope, and rolled back in. We couldn’t see it. There were like four people behind and we still weren’t sure. It disappeared and had gone in the hole. I think that was back-to-back hole in ones on that hole because Sergio was the last person to play it last night and then me this morning, so we’re on it good run on that one

BILLY HORSCHEL (32) def. KEVIN STREELMAN (53), 3 and 1

Billy Horschel came flying out of the starting gates in the round of 16 against Kevin Streelman, making four birdies in the first six holes to set up a commanding 3-up lead. His next birdie on the par-3 11th strengthened his case and although Streelman was able to drive the 13th green and was conceded an eagle, Horschel birdied 14 to once again be in command at 4-up with four to play. Not ready to go down without a fight, Streelman rallied with birdies on the 15th and 16th holes to bring some life into the match but his tee shot on the par-3 17th was dragged left and ended up bouncing into the canyon. From there Horschel was able to close it out.

Said Horschel: I’m a really good putter inside 10 feet and in match play that’s a big advantage. I think you saw it today. I was able to make the putts inside 10 feet and Streels missed a few, which allowed me to be victorious.

VICTOR PEREZ (31) def. ROBERT MACINTYRE (41), 5 and 4

Frenchman Victor Perez galloped into the quarterfinals with a dominant display against Scot Robert MacIntyre. MacIntyre couldn’t recapture the form that saw him come out of the group including FedExCup champion Dustin Johnson but to be fair it was scintillating play from Perez that clinched this win. Perez made three birdies in the opening four holes to jump to a 2-up lead and he’d increased that to 3-up by the turn. Then he turned the screws. He made a 22-foot birdie on the 10th and a 19-footer on the 11th to go 5-up.  When MacIntyre three-putted the 12th green Perez sat 6-up and unbeatable. The Scotsman provided one more highlight with his tee-shot on the drivable 13th nestling in at 5-feet to keep things going one more hole before Perez closed it out.

Said Perez: I knew that even at 3-, 4-up nothing was (finished). There were a lot of holes, opportunities on the backside where he could have made birdies, and I needed to keep pressing on. So made a few putts, which made it a lot easier.

SERGIO GARCIA (39) def. MACKENZIE HUGHES (48), 2 and 1

Sergio Garcia kept his championship hopes alive with a come from behind win over Canadian MacKenzie Hughes. The veteran Spaniard found himself 1-down through six holes before a wonderful tee shot on the par-3 7th left him with just five-feet for a birdie and he duly evened the contest. A stumble from Hughes came around the turn with back-to-back bogeys giving Garcia a leg up that he wouldn’t relinquish. Hughes got within one with a birdie on 11 but Garcia’s tee shot on the drivable 13th found the green just 11-feet from the cup and when Hughes couldn’t make birdie the eagle was conceded. Canada’s last hope then had a nightmare on the 14th green – three-putting from 8-feet, 7-inches to hand Garcia a 3-up advantage with just four holes to play. A glimmer of hope sparked up for those north of the border when a birdie on the 16th and a great tee shot on the 17th gave Hughes life but when he couldn’t find a way to birdie from 12-feet his challenge was done.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER (30) def. IAN POULTER (60), 5 and 4

The University of Texas alum advanced easily into the quarterfinals in Austin. Poulter didn’t win a single hole. Scheffler took his first lead after holing a 6-foot birdie putt on the third hole. He also birdied the eighth – after hitting a 190-yard approach to 4 feet – to take a 2-up lead to the turn. Birdies at 10 and 12, and a par at 14, were enough to finish off Poulter.

Said Scheffler: “I kept the intensity up all day. You could tell by the look in his eye that he wasn’t giving in at all. He was just waiting for a spark. He had some really good opportunities. Hit a great shot into 10 and I kind of took that hole away from him, and then another great putt on 11 and I kind of stole one again and really just kept the momentum on my side.”

JON RAHM (3) def. ERIK van ROOYEN (62), 3 and 2

Rahm, the highest seed remaining, used two back-nine eagles to advance to the quarterfinals. He closed out this match in style, by hitting a 240-yard approach on the par-5 16th to 11 feet and holing the eagle putt. Rahm had bogeyed the back nine’s other par-5, the 12th, to fall into a tie with van Rooyen, but Rahm responded by winning the next two holes. He eagled the drivable 13th after hitting his tee shot to 13 feet and won the next hole with par.

Rahm said: “It was a tough match. We both kept hanging in there. I feel like most of time he had putts to win holes and had some chance to maybe get a bigger lead early on. … I give him 12, I win 13, and then on 14 he misses that short one as well. So I think that stretch of holes was big for me obviously.”

BRIAN HARMAN (54) def. BUBBA WATSON (55), 2 and 1

Eight. Straight. Birdies. That’s what Harman needed to win this match between a pair of left-handed Georgia alums. Harman was 4 down when his birdie run started on the sixth hole. He was 3 up when the streak ended on the 13th hole. Watson fought back, winning Nos. 15 and 16 with birdies, but Harman’s par on 17 was enough to end the match after Watson hit his tee shot in the penalty area.

Said Harman: “Bubba got me out of this tournament several years back. … It’s nice to get the best of him today because I think he’s about 10-0 against me.”

MATT KUCHAR (52) def. JORDAN SPIETH (49), 1-up

Kuchar got a modicum of revenge for the 2017 Open Championship, when Spieth broke his heart with a thrilling finish at Royal Birkdale. Kuchar didn’t lead until the final hole in their match Saturday, making a 6-foot birdie putt on 18 to advance to the quarterfinals of this event for the fifth time. Only Tiger Woods (6) has been in the quarterfinals more. Woods and Kuchar are the only players to win the U.S. Amateur and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. Now Kuchar is trying to become just the fourth player to win the Dell Match Play multiple times. The win improved Kuchar to 14-4-4 in matches at Austin Country Club.


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