Scheffler Beats No. 3 Rahm in WGC-Match Play

Scottie Scheffler, a native Texan, knows Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas, better than anyone left in the field and he’s playing like it.

The 24-year-old Scheffler (pictured), seeded 30th, defeated No. 60 Ian Poulter of England, 5 and 4, in the Round of 16, and upset third-seeded Jon Rahm of Spain, 3 and 1, in the Quarterfinals on Saturday to reach the Semifinals of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

“I played a lot of match play in college, but this is a WGC event so you know you are playing against a strong opponent in each match,” said Scheffler, the 2020 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year who is from Dallas and played at the University of Texas in Austin.

“We’ve played a lot of golf this week, but I don’t think too much about it and I’m really comfortable out there. There’s a lot going on, so I just try to stay in the moment and hit good golf shots. It’s definitely a lot of fun to play out here in front of all of our fans.”

In the Semifinals on Sunday morning, Scheffler will face No. 52 Matt Kuchar, who made a six-foot birdie putt on the last hole to turn back No. 49 Jordan Spieth, before getting past No. 54 Brian Harman, 2 and 1.

The Semifinals winners will play for the title on Sunday afternoon, while the losing players will meet to determine third place.

“One more day,” said Kuchar, who claimed the 2013 WGC-Match Play title and lost in the final to Kevin Kisner in 2019. “I just enjoy match play because it’s so much fun, and it’s great here in Austin, but it’s awfully intense at the same time.

“It’s an easy game when the putts are going in like they are now, but you still have to step up and hit quality shots. It was an incredible atmosphere all day and we’re really glad to have fans back out here again. I’m sure they will be back out here tomorrow morning.”

No. 31 Victor Perez of France, perhaps the surprise of the week even though he tied for ninth in the Players Championship recently, beat No. 41 Robert MacIntyre of Scotland, 5 and 4, in the Round of 16, and took out No. 39 Sergio Garcia of Spain, 4 and 3, in the Quarterfinals.

In the Semifinals, Perez will play No. 32 Billy Horschel, who beat No. 53 Kevin Streelman, 3 and 1, in the morning, before punching his ticket to the Semis by making a birdie on the first playoff hole to eliminate No. 21 Tommy Fleetwood of England.

“Obviously I’m very happy,” said Perez, who has won four times as a pro, including the 2019 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews on the European Tour. “I think this morning was probably the best golf that I’ve played all week.

“Sergio is such a great match player, nothing is going to be given to you. so obviously I’m very pleased to get on to Sunday.”

Said Horschel: “Nothing changes. I know what tomorrow means. I know it’s no different than the final round. … I’m not going to stress about it anymore, and I’m not going to worry about it. I’m just going to go play some golf and see where my game is. Hopefully it’s good enough and I play well enough, then I can move on and maybe hold a trophy tomorrow.”

In the other Round of 16 matches, Fleetwood defeated No. 64 Dylan Frittelli of South Africa, 4 and 3, with the help of a hole in one on the fourth hole; Garcia downed No. 48 Mackenzie Hughes of Canada, 2 and 1; Harman beat No. 55 Bubba Watson, the 2018 WGC-Match Play winner, 2 and 1, and Rahm got past No. 62 Erik van Rooyen of South Africa, 3 and 2.

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

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