AUSTIN, Texas – World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler rallied to keep his title defense alive at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and third-ranked Rory McIlroy held off a late charge by Lucas Herbert to advance to the quarterfinals.
Scheffler defeated J.T. Poston, 1 up, in what was the morning’s most contested match that included just four holes halved and a best-ball score of 11 under par.
“Too many mental errors is what I would say,” said Scheffler, who will play Jason Day in his quarterfinal match. “I’ve done a great job over the years in this tournament of staying patient and not trying to force things. I got down, and J.T. is such a fantastic player and putter that he put the pressure on me today and I let it get the best of me, but I was able to finish strong and come out on top.”
Matches and scoring from the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship
The McIlroy-Herbert match was equally eventful with just a single bogey made by either player. The Northern Irishman took a 1-up lead with a birdie at the first and led the entire way for a 2-up victory.
“If you look at the stats over the last three days, Lucas probably played some of the best golf of everyone, so I knew I was in for a tough game,” said McIlroy, who will face Xander Schauffele in the afternoon. “I got off to a really good start, but every time I hit it in close, he’d answer me with a birdie. It was one of those games where it was really back and forth.”
Schauffele beat J.J. Spaun, 3 and 2, to advance but that wasn’t even the morning’s biggest blowout. Kurt Kitayama trounced Andrew Putnam, 6 and 5, and has not played the 18th hole in a match this week. Cameron Young was almost as dominant with his 5-and-4 victory over Billy Horschel and he will play Kitayama in the quarterfinals.
Patrick Cantlay, the fourth-seeded player at the Match Play, lost to Sam Burns, 2 and 1, who will play Mackenzie Hughes, the highest seeded player remaining (50th) who beat Max Homa, 3 and 2, in the Sweet 16.
Day ended Matt Kuchar’s pursuit of history with a 1-up victory. Kuchar tied Tiger Woods on Friday for the all-time victories record in this event (36) but will have to share that mark with this being the final WGC-Match Play.