The second-placed Spaniard Jon Rahm was eliminated after Friday’s final group in the WGC Match Play Championship but champions Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy moved on.
Rahm, a three-time PGA champion this year, lost to 2021 WGC Match Play champion Billy Horschel 5&4 at the Austin Country Club in Texas, where 16 division winners, 12 of them American, advanced to the standings. iota.
Rahm didn’t make a birdie and was the only top-six player to be eliminated in group play by not making the final. Horschel in the Spaniard’s second defeat.
“To be successful on the hole and the hole, on the swing-to-swing and just adding those good swings on top of each other, it gives a lot of confidence to This is the tank I’ve been needing for a while now,” said Memorial champion Horschel.
Scheffler beat South Korea 17 team Tom Kim 3&2 to win his group with a perfect 3-0.
Masters champion Scheffler, who won the Players Championship earlier this month, drew a last-16 spot with US 43rd seed JT Poston.
“I’m just trying to go out there and hit well, keep doing what I’m doing and execute,” Scheffler said. “I’ve seen some good results recently and I hope to continue that going forward.”
McIlroy, the 2015 Match Play winner, never backed down as he defeated US 20th seed Keegan Bradley 3&2 to reach the last 16.
The four-time major winner from Northern Ireland won the fourth and fifth holes with birdies and the seventh on a Bradley bogey and then played from there to start 3-0.
“As each day goes by… the more and more confidence I’m getting, it’s great,” McIlroy said.
“I hit the ball well and I got up early, kept the pressure on Keegan. It was nice to get to the weekend.”
Next to McIlroy is Australian 46th seed Lucas Herbert, who has yet to finish after defeating US 62nd Ben Griffin 3&1 to make it 3-0.
Herbert sank a 20-foot eagle putt on the par-5 16th and a 17-foot birdie on the par-3 17th to advance.
US 59th seed Matt Kuchar, the oldest participant at 44, defeated South Korea’s Kim Si-woo 7&6 to advance. The 2013 Match Play championship equaled Tiger Woods’ record 36th victory.
“To tie the Tiger logo, I don’t know if I have the words to put that into perspective,” Kuchar said. “I’m very proud, grateful, kind of shell-shocked to be in the same sentence as him.”
Kuchar, in the round of 16 for a record ninth time, will be next to the Australian 32nd Jason Day, the 2014 and 2016 winner who won the US two-time champion Collin Morikawa 4&3 when to remain perfect.
“He just tied Tiger’s game to show how tough he is to beat,” Day said of Kuchar. “If he has a good day on the green it will be hard to beat him.”
Kuchar is one of the four lowest division seeds to advance.
US fourth seed Patrick Cantlay also made a 3-0 start, fellow Brian Harman finished 2&1 to book a last-16 finish with US 13th seed Sam Burns, who made it 3-0 by closing back- i-also animal to win Irishman Seamus Power 2 up.
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, the 2021 Masters champion, lost his match against fifth-seeded American Max Homa with a stiff neck, advancing the unbeaten American into the last 16.
Unbeaten US 61 JJ Spaun birdied the last four holes to match Australian Min Woo Lee 2&1 and book a trip to the last 16 with the reigning champion Olympian Xander Schauffele, the sixth champion of the United States sank a 13-foot birdie putt on the 18th at the end of Tom. 1 more and stay perfect.
Kurt Kitayama, who won three weeks ago at Bay Hill, won a three-man match to reach the last 16 with fellow American Andrew Putnam.