Tiger’s hole-out eagle results in match-play win

AUSTIN, Texas – For the higher a part of three days at Austin Nation Membership, Tiger Woods emitted a vibe of frustration. Quirky course. Detached placing. Questionable choices. And a match-play efficiency that urged he’d be getting an earlier begin on Masters preparation.

Then Woods holed an 83-yard wedge shot Friday afternoon that modified every part.

The eagle on the 13th gap propelled Woods to a Four and a couple of victory over Patrick Cantlay and — coupled with Brandt Snedeker’s 6 and Four loss to Aaron Sensible — a victory in his group on the WGC-Dell Applied sciences Match Play Championship.

Tiger Woods watches his drive on the sixth gap throughout round-robin play on the WGC-Dell Applied sciences Match Play Championship Friday. AP Photograph/Eric Homosexual

Woods will face Rory McIlroy within the Spherical of 16 on Saturday morning, with the format being straight knockout via to Sunday’s remaining match. McIlroy superior out of his group with a Four and a couple of victory over Matthew Fitzpatrick.

The winner will advance to the quarterfinals Saturday afternoon. The semifinals and remaining are on Sunday.

“It is thrilling,” McIlroy mentioned of dealing with Woods. “It is thrilling for the event and it will be thrilling for us. I be ok with my sport. I’ve performed effectively all yr. I’ve continued to do this this week.

“It is undoubtedly going to be a type of ones the place I must go on the market and stick with my sport plan, and not likely take a look at what he does till I possibly need to in direction of the top.”

Tiger Woods superior to the weekend of the WGC-Dell Applied sciences Match Play. His eagle at No. 13 definitely helped.

After every week off, Tiger is again at what is going to seemingly be his remaining begin earlier than the Masters. We monitor him every cease on the WGC-Dell Applied sciences Match Play and all of the steps main thus far.

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Woods and McIlroy are very accustomed to one another. Though they’ve by no means competed at match play in both the Ryder Cup or this occasion, they have been in the identical group 18 instances in official PGA Tour occasions, with Woods capturing the decrease rating on 9 events and the 2 tying 3 times. (They’ve additionally been paired collectively 5 instances on the European Tour, with McIlroy having the higher rating 3 times.)

They had been collectively within the remaining spherical of the Tour Championship final September in Atlanta, the place Woods shot 71 to McIlroy’s 74 and captured his 80th PGA Tour title.

“I must put up a greater struggle than I did in Atlanta final yr,” McIlroy mentioned. “I did not have a lot of a sport that day.”

Cantlay was far much less acquainted, having performed only one spherical with Woods. And though there have been a number of key factors within the Woods-Cantlay match, the hole-out for eagle was large, because it helped Woods — who confronted a 2-down deficit via eight holes — go 2 up with simply 5 to play.

“I laid as much as make it possible for I put stress on him on that tee shot, if he was going to go for it,” mentioned Woods, who hit his tee shot 222 yards on the outlet guarded by water on the left, touchdown in the identical spot the place he hit it in opposition to Snedeker on Thursday and took a penalty. “I noticed his hand go in direction of the motive force a few instances, they usually had been speaking about it.

“And so I put it within the fairway and I believed his drive may need snuck again into the tough again there, however from the way in which they had been sort of trying on the golf ball, it regarded prefer it was most likely going to be within the fairway. I knew I wanted to place it up there to at the least have an opportunity at a three, to drive him to have a very good pitch from down there. And it was a little bit of a bonus.”

Woods used a 60-degree sand wedge from 83 yards to land the ball roughly pin excessive, then noticed it spin again and trickle into the outlet for a 2, eliciting large cheers and a few fist pumps from the three-time winner of this event.

Cantlay, 27, a one-time winner on the PGA Tour who’s ranked 19th on the earth, put up a struggle early, making birdies on the third, fifth and sixth holes to go 1 up. He then took a 2-up lead regardless of a difficult drop from a cart path that left him in bother — solely to see Woods miss the inexperienced, hit a poor chip from the perimeter, miss a 6-footer for par and make a bogey.

However Cantlay wouldn’t win one other gap, making an enormous mistake by driving right into a penalty space on the downhill ninth.

“He received a nasty break on 9,” Woods mentioned. “Hit a very nice drive down there, caught the hill, went within the hazard. And I used to be in a position to win that gap, seize a bit momentum going into the again 9.

“There’s a large distinction between 1 down and a couple of down. For some motive it simply looks like if you happen to win a few holes, hastily you possibly can rise up in a match versus attempting to get again to all sq.. You are preventing, preventing. In order that was large to have a bit momentum going to the again 9.”

Woods squared the match by making a 20-footer for birdie on the 11th, then went forward when he birdied the par-5 12th whereas Cantlay couldn’t match. Then got here the eagle on the 13th and one other birdie on the 14th, with Woods enjoying a six-hole stretch from the 11th to the 16th in 6 underneath par.

“I am grateful for the format as a result of I might be going house yesterday,” Woods mentioned. “So I get an opportunity to play tomorrow morning and hopefully I can play effectively sufficient to proceed advancing.”

Woods, who went 2-1 in his group, wanted Sensible to defeat Snedeker so as to advance; had they tied, Woods would have gone to a sudden-death playoff with Snedeker.

However after taking down Woods on Thursday, Snedeker misplaced two early holes with bogeys, made simply two birdies in his spherical and was three down via 10 earlier than the match ended on the 14th.

Woods mentioned he by no means paid consideration to the opposite match till his was practically over as a result of “I wanted to handle my very own match. It is irrelevant if I lose my match.”

The final three Match Play champions had been eradicated earlier than the weekend.

High-seed Dustin Johnson was the one one nonetheless in competition to succeed in the knockout rounds till he was eradicated Friday by Hideki Matsuyama Four-and-2.

Final yr’s champion Bubba Watson was eradicated Thursday and so was 2016 champion Jason Day.

Johnson received the event in 2017 and however has didn’t get out of the round-robin matches the final two years. His event began with a straightforward win over Chez Reavie earlier than losses to Branden Grace and Matsuyama.

Johnson’s loss sends Grace into the spherical of 16 on Saturday the place he’ll play Sergio Garcia.

Phil Mickelson beat Day 2-up in his remaining spherical. Mickelson was Four-up after eight holes earlier than Day rallied. Mickelson received tihe match by profitable two of the ultimate three holes.

Henrik Stinson was the primary participant within the 64-player subject to advance to the weekend when he beat Jim Furyk 5-and-Four.

Matt Kuchar birdied the final gap to tie Jon Rahm and win his group.

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