Rory advances, Spieth loses

Top-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland rallied to beat Billy Horschel on the 20th hole and advance to the Round of 16 on a day red-hot Jordan Spieth was defeated in the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

Horschel held a 2-up lead through 16 holes before McIlroy made birdies on the last two holes of regulation, sinking a 25-foot putt on No. 17 and a four-footer on No. 18 to force extra holes.

After both players birdied the first extra hole, McIlroy got up-and-down from a greenside bunker for a winning par on the second hole by sinking a three-foot putt.

“Obviously, I had to make that putt (on No. 17) or go home,” said McIlroy, who finished Group 1 with a 3-0 record. “I remembered a similar situation playing in the Ryder Cup last year with Sergio Garcia where I had to make a putt or we would lose, and I drew on that experience.

“That was the best putt I made all day and then I just tried to keep the pressure on up the 18th hole. I didn’t make a lot of birdies in the first three days, but I didn’t make many mistakes. I only made one bogey (in three matches) and didn’t give any holes away.”

The second-ranked Spieth (2-1) had an early 2-up lead over Lee Westwood (3-0), but the Englishman rallied to square the match on the back nine and claimed a 2-up victory with birdies on the last two holes. Spieth went home despite being 16-under-par in three rounds.

In the round of 16 on Saturday morning, McIlroy (3-0) will play Hideki Matsuyama (3-0) of Japan, who beat Kevin Na (1-2) , 5 and 4, to win Group 16, while Westwood faces Danny Willett (3-0) of England, who defeated Andy Sullivan (1-2) of England, 1 up, to win Group 15.

John Senden (3-0) of Australia, who had already clinched Group 3, got past Brendon Todd (0-3), 1 up, and will meet Hunter Mahan (3-0), who routed Matt Kuchar (1-2), 5 and 4, to take Group 14.

Louis Oosthuizen (3-0) of South Africa knocked off Bubba Watson (2-1) in a repeat of the 2012 Masters playoff with a 12-foot birdie putt in the 19th hole to win Group 4 and will take on Rickie Fowler(3-0), who completed his run through Group 14 by downing Graeme McDowell (0-3) of Northern Ireland, 5 and 4.

Jim Furyk (2-1) sank a five-foot birdie putt on the 20th hole to beat Martin Kaymer (1-2) and win Group 5, and will face J.B. Holmes (2-1), who won Group 12 with a 2-and-1 victory over Brooks Koepka (2-1).

Marc Leishman (3-0) of Australia beat Anirban Lahiri of India (1-2), 1-up, to claim Group 6 and will play Gary Woodland (3-0), who captured Group 11 by taking out Webb Simpson (2-1), 2 and 1.

Branden Grace of South Africa (2-1) beat Charley Hoffman (2-1) by a score of 2 and 1, and then overcame Hoffman and Zach Johnson (2-1) with a birdie on the third playoff hole. He will play Tommy Fleetwood (2-1) of England, who got past Bernd Wiesberger (1-2) of Austria on the 19th hole to claim Group 10.

Charl Schwartzel (3-0) of South Africa needed 20 holes to down Matt Jones (1-2) of Australia and will meet Paul Casey of England (3-0), who scored a 1-up victory over Francesco Molinari (1-2) of Italy to win Group 9.

The tournament now becomes single elimination, with the quarterfinals to be played Saturday afternoon. The final and the consolation match will be played on Sunday.


Related Articles

Stay Connected


Latest Articles