July 26, 2017

Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson roll into Match Play quarters

27 March 2017, 12:50 | Leonard Manning

Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson roll into Match Play quarters

Sergio Garcia of Spain hits his tee shot on the third hole during round-robin play at the Dell Technologies Match Play golf tournament at Austin County Club Friday

Among other round-of-16 match-ups will be Spaniard Jon Rahm versus American Charles Howell III, Englishman Paul Casey against Japan's Hideto Tanihara and American Bubba Watson against Englishman Ross Fisher.

"If I end up playing against Dustin, I might benefit not looking at what he's doing because he's such a great player", said Rahm.

The red-hot world No 1 needs two more wins to become the first player to win all four current WGC titles, and he brushed aside Zach Johnson in a one-sided last -6 encounter while overcoming an erratic stretch against Alex Noren before getting back on the birdie trail in a 3&2 win over the Swede.

"Emiliano and I were just like, 'What do we do?' Walking up 18, we could have just called it a half and not even bothered", McIlroy said.

Haas closed out the 2-and-1 victory on the next hole and will face off against Rahm on Sunday.

Rahm pulled away late in his semifinal match with four birdies over his last five holes for a 3-and-2 victory over Bill Haas.

"It's not a place where rookies usually win for the first time".

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Johnson was almost flawless during pool play and cruised past Zach Johnson, 6 and 4, in the Round of 16.

Tiger Woods once hit a drive that came up short of the fairway after completely topping the ball Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in 2013. The pressure in match play comes with knowing you'd better birdie this hole because if you don't, your opponent probably will.

"He does things with the golf ball only a small percentage can do out here".

Dustin Johnson believes his current form gives him a significant advantage as he hunts for victory at the WGC Match Play.

Only two of the top 10 seeded golfers, Johnson and Noren, advanced to the single elimination round of 16, but if there have been any true surprises here this week, it's been the play of the 62nd-ranked Kjeldsen and No. 54 Tanihara. 17 (6 ½ feet) and 18 (8 feet). "I know that he's bitter that he lost, but being a friend, he wanted to go as far as possible". "I've got to keep hitting it the way I have been and make some putts".

Haas had to survive a six-hole, sudden-death playoff with No. 64 K.T Kim of South Korea on Friday in which he had to chip in for par on the second hole and then had to par the final hole in the Saturday's round of 16 to outlast No. 46 Kevin Na.

The weird week in Austin was just another odd chapter for him in 2017.

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