Top-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland rolled into the quarterfinals of the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship by routing Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, 6 and 5, on Saturday at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
McIlroy, playing his best golf of the tournament, carded six birdies in his 13 holes and earned a spot in the semifinals later in the day against Paul Casey of England, who beat Charles Schwartzel of South Africa, 3 and 1.
“That’s definitely the best I’ve played this week, scoring-wise,” said McIlroy, who needed 20 holes to beat Billy Horschel on Friday. “Tee to green it was very similar, but I putted a lot better.
“I’m happy with the way I played in the morning and am hoping for the same in the afternoon.”
McIlroy hoped for a quick match in the quarterfinals because he had tickets to the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight on Saturday night and had his private jet standing by for the hour-and-a half flight to Las Vegas.
Jim Furyk, the next-highest seeded player in the field left at No. 5, defeated J.B. Holmes, 5 and 3, and advanced to play Louis Oosthuizen, who beat Rickie Fowler with a brilliant shot to set up an eagle putt he never had to take on the 18th hole. He won, 1 up, when Fowler conceded after missing a long par putt.
Danny Willett of England upset his more famous countryman, Lee Westwood, 3 and 2, a day after Westy ousted No. 2 Jordan Spieth. Willett will play another young Englishman, Tommy Fleetwood, who eliminated Branden Grace of South Africa, 2 and 1.
John Senden of Australia remained perfect at 4-0 in the tournament with a 2-and-1 victory over Hunter Mahan, and moved on to face Gary Woodland, also 4-0, who beat Marc Leishman of Australia, 2 and 1.
The semifinals will be played Sunday morning, with the final and the consolation match set for the afternoon.