Golf

Tiger, McIlroy e book dream last-16 showdown at WGC Match Play

Washington – Three-time event winner Tiger Woods rallied to defeat Patrick Cantlay Four&2 on Friday, advancing to an electrifying Saturday knockout match towards Rory McIlroy on the WGC-Match Play Championship.

The 14-time main champion holed out from 82 yards for eagle on the par-Four 13th in his fightback to e book his duel with McIlroy, who beat England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick Four&2 to complete an unbeaten group run.

South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace had been additionally each victorious of their respective matches and each have booked their place in Saturday’s spherical of 16 knockout fixtures.

“It is thrilling for the event. I am positive it should be thrilling for us,” McIlroy stated. “I be ok with my sport. I will persist with my sport plan and never take a look at him till I’ve to close the tip.”

A showdown of the world’s 64 top-ranked golfers at Austin (Texas) Nation Membership featured three days of group matches to determine 16 gamers for weekend knockout matches that may decide a champion.

Woods, seeded 13th, will meet fourth-seeded McIlroy of Northern Eire within the spherical of 16 on Saturday morning. They’ve by no means met in match play.

“I will be prepared,” Woods stated.

4-time main winner McIlroy, who might full a Profession Grand Slam on the Masters in two weeks, has by no means trailed in any match and dropped solely three holes this week.

“I received up early and performed some good golf on the entrance 9,” McIlroy stated. “I received scrappy towards the tip however I am by and I am trying ahead to tomorrow.”

Former world primary Woods, a 14-time main champion, break up his first two matches and wanted a victory plus a loss by Brandt Snedeker to achieve the weekend from his all-American group.

Aaron Clever led after each gap in routing Snedeker 6&Four and Woods took care of the remainder with a formidable fightback, displaying the shape that helped him win WGC Match Play titles in 2003, 2004 and 2008.

Woods made bogeys on the par-5 sixth and par-Four eighth to fall 2-down to Cantlay, who gave one again with a bogey at 9 earlier than Woods reeled off three birdies and an eagle to win the subsequent 4 holes — sinking a 21-foot birdie putt on the par-Three 11th and a six-footer on the par-5 12th, then holing out at 13 earlier than making a 20-footer at 14.

“Patrick received a foul break at 9. I received a free gap there,” Woods stated. “I attempted to hold the momentum to the again 9. I made an enormous putt at 11 and received it rolling from there.”

At 13, he bounced his strategy onto the inexperienced and noticed the gang erupt because the ball rolled into the cup.

“I used to be simply making an attempt to get it up shut and subsequent factor you realize it falls in,” Woods stated. “I will take it.”

McIlroy, the 2015 Match Play winner, gave a nod to his final-round duel with Woods finally yr’s US PGA Tour Championship, the place Woods captured his 80th profession US PGA victory — and first triumph in 5 years — whereas McIlroy struggled.

“I simply hope I put up a greater struggle than I did in Atlanta final yr,” McIlroy stated.

The best seed advancing was world quantity two Justin Rose of England, who edged US 22nd seed Gary Woodland 1-up to win his group. He subsequent performs US 57th seed Kevin Na, the bottom seed within the final 16.

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, seeded 37th, received three of the primary 4 holes and by no means trailed in beating US 52nd seed Jim Furyk, advancing to face Danish 50th seed Lucas Bjerregaard within the spherical of 16.

China’s Li Haotong missed a seven-foot birdie putt at 18 and halved with England’s 60th-seeded Tom Lewis, however put his strategy to 2 ft on the primary playoff gap to beat Sweden’s Alex Noren for a knockout berth.

“The entire day was like a curler coaster,” Li stated. “On the final gap I used to be somewhat bit nervous and did not get sufficient break (on the putt) however I simply performed good on the subsequent gap.”

Alongside McIlroy and Stenson at Three-Zero had been Australia’s 17th-seeded Marc Leishman, who booked a last-16 date with South African 19th seed Louis Oosthuizen, and South African 40th seed Branden Grace, who will play Spanish 26th seed Sergio Garcia.

Italian seventh seed Francesco Molinari beat US 21st seed Webb Simpson 2&1 to complete Three-Zero and can play English 10th seed Paul Casey for a quarter-final berth.

Outcomes:

Group 1

Hideki Matsuyama (JPN x24) bt Dustin Johnson (USA x1) Three&2

Branden Grace (RSA x40) bt Chez Reavie (USA x55) 2&1

Group 2

Emiliano Grillo (ARG x53) bt Eddie Pepperell (ENG x34) Four&Three

Justin Rose (ENG x2) bt Gary Woodland (USA x22) 1-up

Group Three

Alex Noren (SWE x27) bt Brooks Koepka (USA x3) Three&2

Tom Lewis (ENG x60) bt Li Haotong (CHN x36) 1-up

Playoff: Li bt Noren with birdie on first additional gap

Group Four

Rory McIlroy (NIR x4) bt Matthew Fitzpatrick (ENG x32) Four&2

Justin Harding (RSA x47) bt Luke Record (USA x64) 2-up

Group 5

Justin Thomas (USA x5) and Keegan Bradley (USA x31) halved

Lucas Bjerregaard (DEN x50) bt Matt Wallace (ENG x33) 1-up

Group 6

Marc Leishman (USA x17) bt Bryson DeChambeau (USA x6) 5&Four

Russell Knox (SCO x59) bt Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA x39) 2-up

Group 7

Francesco Molinari (ITA x7) bt Webb Simpson (USA x21) 2&1

Satoshi Kodaira (JPN x63) bt Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN x45) Three&1

Group eight

JB Holmes (USA x43) bt Kim Si-woo (KOR x54) 6&Four

Jon Rahm (ESP x8) and Matt Kuchar (USA x23) halved

Group 9

Xander Schauffele (USA x9) bt Rafa Cabrera Bello (ESP x29) 1-up

Tyrrell Hatton (ENG x35) bt Lee Westwood (ENG x62) Three&1

Group 10

Paul Casey (ENG x10) bt Cameron Smith (AUS x25) Four&Three

Abraham Ancer (MEX x58) bt Charles Howell (USA x42) 5&Three

Group 11

An Byeong-hun (KOR x49) bt Kyle Stanley (USA x41) 6&5

Louis Oosthuizen (RSA x19) bt Tommy Fleetwood (ENG x11) Four&Three

Group 12

Henrik Stenson (SWE x37) bt Jim Furyk (USA x52) 5&Four

Phil Mickelson (USA x20) bt Jason Day (AUS x12) 2-up

Group 13

Aaron Clever (USA x61) bt Brandt Snedeker (USA x44) 6&Four

Tiger Woods (USA x13) bt Patrick Cantlay (USA x18) Four&2

Group 14 

Kevin Kisner (USA x48) bt Keith Mitchell (USA x56) 2&1

Ian Poulter (ENG x30) bt Tony Finau (USA x14) 1-up

Playoff: Kisner bt Poulter with birdie on third additional gap

Group 15

Bubba Watson (USA x15) bt Jordan Spieth (USA x28) 1-up

Kevin Na (USA x57) bt Billy Horschel (USA x38) Three&1

Group 16

Patrick Reed (USA x16) bt Sergio Garcia (ESP x26) 2&1

Shane Lowry (IRL x46) bt Andrew Putnam (USA x51) Three&2

Saturday’s Spherical of 16:

Tiger Woods (USA x13) v Rory McIlroy (NIR x4), Henrik Stenson (SWE x37) v Lucas Bjerregaard (DEN x50), Tyrrell Hatton (ENG x35) v Matt Kuchar (USA x23), Sergio Garcia (ESP x26) v Branden Grace (RSA x40), Marc Leishman (AUS x17) v Louis Oosthuizen (RSA x19), Kevin Kisner (USA x48) v Li Haotong (CHN x36), Paul Casey (ENG x10) v Francesco Molinari (ITA x7), Justin Rose (ENG x2) v Kevin Na (USA x57)   

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