8: 56 PM ET
AUSTIN, Texas — Jon Rahm and Patrick Cantlay thrust their fists in celebration with birdies on the final gap to have shut, the kind of emotions standard for a final round. Within the Dell Applied sciences Match Play, on on each day foundation foundation can feel fancy Sunday.
The gap round of crew play Wednesday featured 16 of the 32 fits going the gap, Rory McIlroy suffering his worst loss in 10 years and some of the most efficient moments belonging to novices to this fickle tournament.
That starts with Antoine Rozner, the 28-year-passe from Paris who got into this World Golf Championship by winning the Qatar Masters two weeks ago with a 60-foot birdie putt on the final gap.
Clinging to a one-shot lead over U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, a tree blocking off the 54 yards that separated him from the flag, Rozner hit a bold flop shot that settled 8 feet at the inspire of the gap. Finishing with a flair, he holed the putt for a 2-up victory over DeChambeau.
“I feel or now now not it is miles a model of pictures you devour gotten lawful got to head forward and hit it,” Rozner acknowledged. “I turned out to hit that shot in actuality well, went colossal high over the trees. Tall utterly happy that it modified into shut because that effect a couple of stress on Bryson on the closing chip. So yeah, very utterly happy.”
Next up modified into Bob MacIntyre of Scotland, dropping two eagles over the final 5 holes in a 2-and-1 victory over Kevin Na. The second one modified into at the par-5 16th, where MacIntyre holed a bunker shot to pick control.
With the skills pool in golf as deep because it has ever been, or now now not it is exhausting to call any match an upset.
That does not imply gamers weren’t upset.
McIlroy modified into so dim strolling off after 13 holes that he declined to talk about about his match for the second straight time in this tournament. The old event modified into in 2019 when he lost to Tiger Woods in the knockout stage on the weekend.
This loss modified into to Poulter, who did so noteworthy horny — a 7-iron to a foul pin to eight feet on No. 9, a 4-iron from 247 yards to 7 feet for eagle on the par-5 12th — that McIlroy couldn’t present you with the money for to full noteworthy irascible. And he did loads.
McIlroy learned the water on a gap and not utilizing a water hazard at No. 5 — his driver bounced off a course, over the fence and into the swimming pool of a dwelling. He had a 12-foot birdie to have shut a gap and three-putted to lose. And the match ended on No. 13 when McIlroy’s eagle chip from at the inspire of the green went the general device into the water.
It modified into his largest loss in Match Play since Ben Crane beat him, 8 and 7, in the second round of 2011.
Justin Thomas (2) joined DeChambeau (5) because the tip seeds who lost their opening fits. Collin Morikawa (4), Xander Schauffele (6), Patrick Reed (7) and Tyrrell Hatton (8) had to make your mind up for ties.
Thomas fell 5 the total device down to Matt Kuchar on the front 9, too enormous a gap from which he might perchance rally. Coming off a victory in The Avid gamers Championship, he injure up shedding to Kuchar on the 16th gap.
“I am now now not distinct that many of us would devour been deciding on me this week,” acknowledged Kuchar, who has long gone more than a year since his closing discontinuance in the tip 10.
Kevin Kisner, the defending champion from 2019 — the Match Play modified into the third tournament to be canceled closing year attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic — gained his seventh straight match by beating Louis Oosthuizen.
On memoir of the structure switched to crew play in 2016, Kisner is the one player to devour lost his first match and long gone on to have shut. So there’s hope for Thomas, DeChambeau and McIlroy. They restful devour a likelihood to have shut their crew, with the 16 winners advancing to the knockout stage on the weekend.
It’s going to just now now not be easy, even for these that have shut. Dustin Johnson, the tip seed, lost momentum when he learned the water on the par-5 12th and three-putted from 15 feet to lose the 13th. He now not without delay closed out Adam Lengthy on the 18th gap.
“A hit your first match positively helps,” Johnson acknowledged. “Nevertheless you devour gotten restful got to head moderately noteworthy have shut all three fits in instruct so that you just can come.”
Sebastian Munoz rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt on the closing gap, forcing Rahm to create his 8-footer to have shut. He rolled it in and chased it to the gap with a fist pump.
Two groups later, Cantlay made an 18-footer to now not without delay effect away Brian Harman, 1 up. The most frequently reserved Cantlay also gave a fast fist pump and for factual reason. He modified into never out of a gap and never made worse than par. He holed out a fast wedge for eagle and made six birdies, and might perchance perchance need made one other if the gap wasn’t conceded.
And he restful wanted a huge putt on the closing gap to have shut.
“I maintain fancy it must now not be that complex,” Cantlay acknowledged. “I performed colossal. Did now not create any bogeys, and it modified into the general technique to the bitter pause in actuality sweating it out. … While you occur to are up against an opponent who plays in actuality, in actuality well and likewise you play lawful moderately of greater, or now now not it is in actuality fulfilling.”