Morikawa, Na Win Playoffs to Advance at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

Second-seeded Collin Morikawa blew a big lead but made the final putt on day three of Group Play and moved on to the round of 16 in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas. 

Morikawa (pictured) drove the par-4 18th green and two-putted from 33 feet for a birdie to claim a 1-up victory over Jason Kokrak after building a 4-up lead after nine holes and later falling back to all-square after a three-putt bogey on the 17th hole. 

“I’ve been giving shots away in stroke-play tournaments this season and did it again at 17,” said Morikawa, from La Canada Flintridge and Cal. “But I’ve been playing well all this week and made up for it on the last hole. 

“There’ been a few putts this week that I think anyone here on the property could have hit better than I did. I really only needed to two-putt (on No. 17) for a par and have him make a par to win, but the drive on 18 was nice, walked up to see it on the middle of the green, and all I needed to do was two-putt and get out.” 

Morikawa, a two-time major champion who is ranked second in the world, finished 2-0-1 in Group Play and will face 15th-seeded Abraham Ancer (2-0-1) on Saturday morning as single- elimination begins with the round of 16, with the quarterfinals being played in the afternoon. 

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Ancer (2-0-1), who defeated Webb Simpson (1-2) to win his group. “I love match play. This golf course, it’s a lot of fun, anything can happen. It’s awesome playing in front of these fans, so I’m excited.” 

Shortly before Morikawa won his match, No. 25 Kevin Na of Diamond Bar (2-0-1) birdied four of his last seven holes including No. 18 to knock off No. 14 Joaquin Niemann of Chile (1-2), 1 up. 

Then Na sank a 13-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to beat No. 64 Maverick McNealy of Portola Valley and Stanford (2-0-1), who beat No. 34 Russell Henley (0-3) by a score of 2 and 1. McNealy got into the tournament at the last minute when Sam Burns withdrew. 

“Mav has been playing great,” Na said. “I knew I had to make that last one to close the door. It was a tough, tough putt and I was glad to see that one go in.” 

In another playoff, No. 24 Will Zalatoris (2-1), the 2020-21 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, advanced by beating No. 3 Viktor Hovland (2-1) with a birdie on the second hole after also scoring a 1-up victory over Hovland with birdies on the last two holes. 

No. 5 Scottie Scheffler (2-1), who lost to Billy Horschel in the final last year, routed No. 20 Matt Fitzpatrick (2-1) in the morning and then made three birdies including a five-footer on the sixth playoff hole to beat Fitzpatrick again in the afternoon.  

“I didn’t really make any mistakes,” said Scheffler, who has won twice this season. “I took advantage of a few mistakes he made early. He got a real break on our second hole (which Scheffler won with a par), and after that I started cruising and played some good golf.” 

The fourth playoff of the day saw No. 56 Takumi Kanaya (2-1) beat No. 39 Lucas Herbert (2-1) of Australia with a brilliant par after driving into the trees on the first extra hole, where Herbert lipped out a three-foot par putt. Kanaya got into the playoff by beating Herbert in round three, 5 and 4. 

Others advancing were No. 1 Jon Rahm of Spain (2-1), No. 8 Dustin Johnson (3-0), No. 12 Horschel (2-0-1), No. 13 Tyrrell Hatton of England (3-0), No. 16 Brooks Koepka (3-0), No. 29 Kevin Kisner (3-0), No. 32 Adam Scott of Australia (2-0-1), No. 36 Corey Conners of Canada (3-0), No. 42 Seamus Power of Ireland (2-1) and No. 56 Richard Bland of England (2-0-1. 

In the quarter finals, it will be Rahm vs. Koepka; Morikawa vs. Ancer; Scheffler vs. Horschel; Johnson vs. Bland; Hatton vs. Power; Zalatoris vs. Na; Kisner vs. Scott, and Conners vs. Kanaya. 

The semifinals and final will be played on Sunday. 

For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html  

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