Saturday, April 29, 2017

Match-by-match: WGC-Dell Technologies, Day 2

Second-round play is underway at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, as 64 players take on Austin Country Club with hopes of advancing out of pool play. Follow along here to see how the second matches played out, and who is in line to advance to the Round of 16:

Group 1: Dustin Johnson (1) def. Martin Kaymer (41), 3 and 2: Coming off a 5-and-3 opening-round victory, DJ remained in good form against Kaymer, building a 4-up lead through seven holes and cruising to the finish line. Johnson needs only a half point Friday to advance to the knockout stage. 

Group 1: Jimmy Walker (18) def. Webb Simpson (58), 3 and 2: Walker stayed alive by leading the entire way against Simpson, who is eliminated after dropping to 0-2 for the week. Walker had a 1-up lead on 13 tee, but his par there was enough to build a comfortable cushion down the stretch. To advance to the weekend, Walker must beat Johnson in his match Friday, then again in a head-to-head playoff.   


Group 2: Rory McIlroy (2) def. Gary Woodland (33), conceded: Woodland withdrew before the start of the match because of a family emergency. McIlroy is now 1-1. 


Group 3: Lee Westwood (43) def. Jason Day (3), conceded: Westwood had a day off after Day withdrew from the event Wednesday to be with his ailing mother, who will undergo lung-cancer surgery on Friday. Westwood now has a 1-1 record. 


Group 4: Ross Fisher (47) def. Hideki Matsuyama (4), 2 and 1: Fisher (1-1) jumped out to a 3-up lead through four holes, but he needed to bury a 12-foot birdie putt on 16 just to maintain a 1-up advantage into the final two holes. He rolled in a 15-footer for birdie on 17 to drop Matsuyama to 0-1-1 for the week (now eliminated). 

Group 4: Louis Oosthuizen (23) def. Jim Furyk (51), 3 and 2: Furyk won three holes in a row on Nos. 11-13 to hand Oosthuizen his first career loss in pool play. Oosthuizen, last year’s finalist, has a 14-4 record in this event since 2014. Furyk leads the way in the group, with 1 ½ points. 


Group 8: Alex Noren (8) def. Bernd Wiesberger, 3 and 2: Noren became the first player to clinch his Round of 16 berth after Molinari withdrew and conceded his Friday match. Noren took a 4-up lead through six holes and never looked back. He won’t play again until Saturday. 

Group 8: Thongchai Jaidee (57) def. Francesco Molinari (25), 5 and 3: Jaidee (1-1) grabbed a 6-up lead at the turn despite only playing the front nine in 2 under par. Molinari later withdrew from the event because of a wrist injury.


Group 9: Kevin Kisner (34) def. Patrick Reed (9), 2 up: Kisner gave up a narrow lead when he missed a 5-footer on 16, but he came back with a two-putt par to win the 17th and held on for an important victory that will give him a chance to advance Friday against Koepka. Reed (0-1-1), one of the pre-tournament favorites, has now been eliminated. 

Group 9: Brooks Koepka (20) def. Jason Dufner (59), 6 and 5: It’s back-to-back blowouts for Koepka (2-0), who hadn’t entered the week playing well but now seems to be building off his impressive performance at last year’s Ryder Cup, where he went 3-1 in his debut. After halving the first four holes, Koepka took the next three, then added wins on 9, 10 and 11 on his way to a lopsided result. 


Group 11: Bill Haas (42) def. Danny Willett (11), 6 and 5: Haas (1-1) had little trouble with the reigning Masters champion, winning three consecutive holes on the front nine and then blowing out the match with wins on the 10th and 12th holes. The struggles continue for Willett, who now has been eliminated.  


Group 13: Bubba Watson (13) def. Scott Piercy (39), 4 and 3: Watson (2-0) carried over the momentum from his opening-day victory with an impressive takedown of Piercy in which he never trailed. One up after the sixth hole, Watson birdied back-to-back holes and never let up on the back nine. 

Group 13: Jhonattan Vegas (55) def. Thomas Pieters (30), 3 and 1: Vegas (1-1) birdied the first hole and never looked back against Pieters, whose ball-striking was so good Wednesday that he never trailed in his opening match despite failing to make a putt longer than 4 feet. He wasn’t as sharp Thursday, playing the first 15 holes in even par, including the usual match-play concessions. 


Group 16: Zach Johnson (44) def. Matt Kuchar (16), 2 up: A tight match throughout, Johnson’s two-putt par on 15 gave him the advantage he needed, then he drove the 18th green for good measure. He improved to 1-1 on the week. 

Group 16: Brendan Steele (50) def. Tommy Fleetwood (29), 1 up: Back and forth on the back nine, both players squandered a 2-up lead. The Englishman battled back with a birdie on 16 and par on 17 to square the match, but Steele sank a 7-foot birdie putt on the final hole to take the match. With 1 ½ points, Steele leads the group.  


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