Matt Kuchar knows match play.
The 59th-seeded Kooch routed No. 34 Si Woo Kim of South Korea, 7 and 6, to capture Group 8 and move on to the round of 16 with a 2-0-1 record pool play in what the PGA Tour says will be the last World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play held at Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas—or anywhere else.
The 44-year-old Kuchar, the oldest player in the field, tied Tiger Woods for the record of 36 victories in this tournament, which he won in 2013 for one of his nine PGA Tour victories. He also shares the record of playing in 52 matches and has an overall record of 36-11-5.
“There’s 300 more records, I’m sure, to go, but it’s a fun one to be able to say you’ve kind of got something you tied Tiger with,” said Kuchar, who also lost to Kevin Kisner in the 2019 WGC-Dell Match Play final championship match, 3 and 2, and beat Victor Perez of France last year in the consolation match.
“It’s a good go. I’ve certainly been doing it for a long time and doing it well for a long time to be able to have that many wins, to have the same as Tiger in a match-play record. It’s a nice kind of feather in the cap to think about, yeah, it’s been good golf for a long time.
“Match play, I certainly love, as you would guess with a good record. (It’s) something unique, something different to do. Yeah, I’m bummed this is the final year for it. This format’s been great for me, but I know very well tomorrow I could go out and play great golf tomorrow and get beat.”
Kuchar will play No. 32 Jason Day (3-0) of Australia, who won this event in 2014 and 2016, in the round of 16 after disposing of Kim in 12 holes, taking the lead at No. 2 before winning five straight holes through No. 9 and finishing it off with his fourth birdie on a bogey-free day at No. 12.
No. 22 Billy Horschel (2-0-1), who won the 2021 WGC-Dell Match Play, handed No. 2 Jon Rahm (1-2) of Spain his second loss of the tournament, 5 and 4, and will play No. 15 Cameron Young (3-0), the 2021-22 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, in the round of 16 after winning Group 2.
No. 56 Andrew Putnam of Pepperdine (3-0), who earlier upset No. 7 Will Zalatoris in round one, claimed the Group 7 title with a 4-and-3 victory over No. 37 Harris English, and will face No. 19 Kurt Kitayama (2-1) of Chico, who beat No. 10 Tony Finau (2-1) and No. 45 Adrian Meronk (2-1) of Poland in a three-way playoff to capture Group 10.
No. 1 Scottie Scheffler (3-0), the defending champion who also lost to Horschel in the final two years ago; No. 3 Rory McIlroy (3-0) of Northern Ireland; No. 4 Patrick Cantlay (3-0) of Los Alamitos and UCLA; No. 5 Max Homa (3-0) of Valencia and Cal, and No. 6 Xander Schauffele (3-0) of La Jolla and San Diego State all advanced to the Round of 16.
Homa won his third match by concession when No. 18 Hideki Matsuyama (1-2) of Japan withdrew because of a neck injury.
“Just another bogey free day,” Homa wrote jokingly on Twitter. “In all seriousness, this isn’t the way I wanted to make it through. I hope Hideki feels better soon. Golf is better when he’s playing well.”
Later, Homa spoke with the media and said: “I think I’m just going to go through like a light practice today and I might actually take my wife on a date. We haven’t gotten to hang out much because of having a kid and all the golf, so maybe I’ll go get us some lunch and watch a little bit of golf, but probably go through like a light practice day and be as fresh as I can for tomorrow.”
Homa plays the first match of the morning against No. 50 Mackenzie Hughes (2-1), followed by Cantlay vs. No. 13 Sam Burns (3-0), Kuchar vs. Day, Scheffler vs. No. 43 J.T. Poston (3-0), Schauffele vs. No. 61 J.J. Spaun (3-0) of Los Angeles and San Diego State; McIlroy vs. No. 46 Lucas Herbert (3-0) of Australia, Putnam vs. Kitayama, and Horschel vs. Young.
Spaun, the lowest-seeded player to advance, upset No. 11 Matt Fitzpatrick of England in the first round before beating Sahith Theegala of Chino Hills and Pepperdine, and Min Woo Lee of South Korea.
For complete results and round of 16 brackets and tee times, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard