AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Jon Rahm lost the game and was still available for the weekend’s game. Scottie Scheffler needed just 14 holes to win the game against Matt Fitzpatrick, and then six more to beat him in the playoffs.
A third day of endless action in the Dell Technologies Match Play finally ended on Friday when Collin Morikawa hit the green at par 4, which wasn’t nearly as dramatic as his shot for the championship. PGA but still effective in getting him through the group play.
Sixteen players stayed behind for the knockout stages that began on Saturday morning, all knowing that three days of intense competition meant nothing going forward.
“Now it’s true,” said Abraham Ancer after being strangled to death by Webb Simpson. “Now you definitely won’t advance if you don’t win.”
Rahm got there by winning the opening two games. He played sloppily at number 9 after losing to Patrick Reed, who played his best golf game after the disqualification. But the world No. 1 avoided a playoff in his group when Cameron Young also lost.
Seamus Power also lost the battle, but by then he was assured of winning his team. The Irishman got another bonus: By reaching the fourth round, Power was guaranteed to be in the top 50 and go into masters.
Four of the groups are decided in the extra holes.
There was no tiebreak, and the three players who won their match had to return to the first tee due to sudden death to the player they had just defeated.
Scheffler had the hardest time. Takumi Kanaya feels the luckiest.
Scheffler had to beat Fitzpatrick to have any chance, and that was the easy part of the 5 and 4 win. They had to wait more than two hours for all of the games to start before the match started. They played birdie in 1st place, parsed on the next three holes and ranked in fifth. Scheffler finally won at par-5 Friday when he hit a six-foot ball after Fitzpatrick missed from 15 feet.
“I know the rules,” Scheffler said of going extra holes after beating Fitzpatrick in the match.
“I didn’t know we had to wait so long to get back to the playoffs. I was a bit surprised by that. I would love to continue going the way I played in the beginning, and Matt has really enjoyed it. good at regrouping, and he came out and played some really good golf in the playoffs.”
His reward was a fourth-round match against Billy Horschel, who beat Scheffler in last year’s championship game.
Rahm faces Brooks Koepka, who almost dodged a playoff. Koepka was up against Shane Lowry on the 18th when he hit a 45-yard, dirt-covered throw to the left of the 18th turf to 8 feet and made a birdie for a 1-up win.
Kanaya was in the same predicament as Scheffler. He had to beat Lucas Herbert of Australia, and he finished the match on 14 holes.
On the first hole in the playoffs, Kanaya found a bunker on the fairway and was only able to advance to the 90-yard hole – Herbert with a good shot stayed out with a second shot. Kanaya used the slope expertly to land a 2-foot shot, and Herbert hit three shots from 18 feet above the hole to lose the match.
Kanaya is 56th, the lowest seed is still playing, but I’m not much. And considering he’ll be at the Masters in two weeks, he’s not the biggest surprise.
That would be England’s Richard Bland, 49, the oldest player on the pitch and this week’s 54th seed. Bland started the first match of the game by splitting the match against Bryson DeChambeau. On Friday, he beat Lee Westwood to win the group.
Last year, Bland became the oldest first-time winner in the history of the European tour. With one more win, he could be in for his first Masters.
“It’s just my time. That’s all I can put it down,” Bland said. “But I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.”
Will Zalatoris, famous for the iron game, knocked out Viktor Hovland with his putter. Zalatoris hit a 12-foot ball on holes 16 and 18, the last of which gave him a 1-1 win to draw the Norwegian in the group stage match.
In the playoffs, Zalatoris took a 10-foot kick at No. 1 – Hovland took a 6-foot kick – and another 10-foot shot at No. 2 to advance.
Dustin Johnson, Kevin Kisner and Tyrrell Hatton are among five players who have won all of their games. Kisner, who won and was runner-up at the Hunger Games, looked harder than ever to take down Justin Thomas. Kisner 6 under through six holes and shot 28 out of nine points ahead to lead by 5 goals. He closed him on the 15th hole.
“That should be a 10,” Kisner said when asked to rate his performance.
He went on to face Adam Scott, who had no trouble beating Jordan Spieth to advance at the weekend for the first time since 2005. His record isn’t as bad as that suggests.
“It’s hard to get there when I’m not competing in the event,” Scott said with a laugh. He hasn’t been in the game since 2016. He enjoyed it better at La Costa, especially in 2003 when he went 19 holes before losing to Tiger Woods.
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