Mixed bag as McIlroy loses and Lowry halves in Austin

Mixed bag as McIlroy loses and Lowry halves in Austin
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 22: Soren Kjeldsen (L) of Denmark shakes hands with Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland after winning their match during round one of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play at the Austin Country Club on March 22, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 22: Soren Kjeldsen (L) of Denmark shakes hands with Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland after winning their match during round one of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play at the Austin Country Club on March 22, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Shane Lowry three-putted the last to hand Sergio Garcia a half and Søren Kjeldsen played superbly to beat Rory McIlroy 2 and 1 on day one of the WGC - Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club.

It was a day of thrills and spills in an event that features 16 groups of four players taking each other on in round robin play over three days with the winners of each group qualifying for the last 16 and then the quarter-finals on Saturday.

While McIlroy's defeat was not expected - Kjeldsen had never won a match in the event before —  the day was marked by the withdrawal of former world No 1 Jason Day, three down after six at the time to Pat Perez, because of his mother Dening's battle with cancer.

There was immediate speculation that Day was suffering from another back injury but he went to the media centre and gave an emotional and heart-breaking press conference, breaking down as he explained that he wasn't injured but struggling to come to terms his mother's battle with lung cancer.

"Yeah, obviously it's not an excuse or anything like that," said Day, who lost his father, Alvyn, to stomach cancer when he was 12. "My back is fine. I'm a hundred percent healthy. Everything is totally fine."

Clearly distressed and in tears, he said: "It's hard to talk right now. My mom has been here for a while. And she has lung cancer. At the start of the year she was diagnosed with 12 months to live -- this is so hard. The diagnosis is much better being over here.

"She's going in for surgery this Friday and it's really hard to even comprehend being on the golf course right now because of what she's gone through.

"She had a test done in Australia, and the doc said she was terminal and only had 12 months to live. I'm glad I brought her over here. And it's been really hard to play golf lately in this year.

"It's been very, very emotional, as you can tell. I've already gone through it once with my dad. And I know how it feels. And it's hard enough to see another one go through it, as well.

"So as of now, I'm going to try to be back there with my mom for surgery and make sure everything goes right with her.

"I mean, once again it's been a very, very hard time for me to even be thinking about playing golf. And emotionally it's been wearing on me for a while. And I know my mom says not to let it get to me, but it really has.

"So I just need some time away with her to make sure that everything goes well because this has been very, very tough for me. So I'm going to do my best and try and be there the best I can for her because she is the reason that I'm playing golf today. And family is first and it's just -- it's just a hard time.

"I didn't want to leave you guys out in the dust and try and speculate what was going on with me and my game and how I felt if it was my back or anything. 

"But I just wanted to make sure and get it out there that this is the reason why I've obviously pulled out this week because of my mom going for surgery to try and get rid of this mass that's in her lungs, which is a three or four centimeter mass, which is a pretty large mass in her lungs.

"I'm hoping for a speedy recovery for her, and we can get this behind us and she can live a long, long life."

Kjeldsen's 2 and 1 win over McIlroy, which he achieved with four successive birdies from 14th, was another impressive performance by the former Irish Open champion.

Golf Digest's Tim Rosaforte  spoke to Kjeldsen, who explained how Paul McGinley sat down with him during the Irish Open at The K Club last year to tell him how much he admired him "for climbing back into the top-50 in the world at 41 years of age, doing it as one of the shorter hitters in world golf—all of this after overcoming a financial crisis in 2010."

“Paul just wanted to say it was brilliant what I was doing and it was a great inspiration with my kind of game, still competing against the guys that play a different game,” Kjeldsen said during our conversation in the Muirfield Village locker room on Wednesday. “He knew how hard I worked and the troubles I have faced so it was a huge compliment.”

McIlroy - the 2015 champion - was one of the favourites coming into the week but will now face an uphill battle to get out of Group Two after Kjeldsen produced a stunning performance.

The Dane finished with four birdies to win a roller coaster of a contest where the lead changed hands five times.

That match was certainly among the best of the 32 encounters on what was an enthralling first day. 

Other highlights included Race to Dubai Number One Tommy Fleetwood birding the 18th to win one up over Zach Johnson, while  Garcia and Lowry halved an intriguing match on the 18th when Lowry made a bogey to allow the Spaniard to win the hole and halve the match.

"We didn't play great," Garcia said after Lowry missed the fairway left, then three putted from 40 feet. "We definitely didn't make anything, neither of us. I think we made probably two or three putts between the two of us. At least I think we both fought hard."

Lowry three-putted to lose the first, won the fourth in par but lost the fourth to a par and the fifth to a birdie to go two down.

He bounced back, however, winning the sixth in birdie, the seventh and eighth in par and the ninth in birdie to turn one up.

Lowry then won the 10th in par to go two up but lost the 12th to a par-five after finding water with his approach, then led all the to the 18th where he finished off a 32-putt round with a costly three-putt, knocking his first putt six feet past the hole.

McIlroy's match with Kjeldsen was a thriller. He lost the first in birdie, then birdied the third and fourth to go one up before Kjeldsen fought back.

The Dane won the  fifth in birdie to square the match, halved the eighth in bogey but then lost the ninth to a par to gone one down.

McIlroy reacted with winning birdies at the 11th, 12th (where he hit a 410-yard drive, downhill, downwind) and 13th to go one up again.

But Kjeldsen was not to be denied and pointed to his six iron to eight feet to set up a winning birdie at the 14th as the key to match.

"My caddie Alistair said before we started today, 'Shoot 5-under and see if it's enough.' I bettered that by one and it worked out," said Kjeldsen, who birdied the 15th to remain all square, then birdied the 16th to go one up and almost aced the 17th to secure a 2 and 1 win. 

"Obviously getting 2 up after 10, I knew at some stage he's probably going to come back at me and he did pretty fast. I had to shoot some good numbers and in the end I played really well all day, and obviously exceptionally well towards the end."

McIlroy now needs Emiliano Grillo, who lost 3 and 2 to Gary Woodland, to do him a favour and beat Kjeldsen today.

"Emiliano could do me a favor and beat Soren," McIlroy said. "I played well. If I had played anyone else I might have won. Soren played great. I think I have to give him credit. He played really, really well, from the first hole. 

"He made birdie at the first, and his wedge play was very sharp all day. He didn't miss any real makeable putts. He sort of holed everything he should have. And just played a really solid round of golf. It's hard to beat that, especially when the wind is getting up. I mean 6-under for 17 holes around here is really good."

Englishman Tyrrell Hatton continued his incredible run of form with a 2&1 win over Charles Howell III, while Belgium’s Thomas Pieters – the man who became Europe’s most successful Ryder Cup Rookie last year – continued to forge a fine match play reputation with a 3&2 win over Scott Piercy

At the other end of the scoring spectrum there were convincing victories for World Number One Dustin Johnson (5&3 over Webb Simpson); Phil Mickelson (5&3 over Si Woo Kim), Daniel Berger (7&5 over JB Holmes) and Charl Schwartzel (6&5 over Ben An).

Soren Kjeldsen

“I felt good coming into today. And spoke to my caddie Alistair yesterday and he said, you know, go and shoot five under and see if it's enough. Don't worry about him. Obviously he's pretty spectacular player so you don't want to be watching too much! I knew that I had to play well to have any kind of a chance, therefore, I didn't look too much at what Rory was doing. I played really, really well. 

“Coming in as the 64th player this week, I am technically the underdog in every match. It's nice. I haven't had the best start to this season this year in America, but the last few weeks have been getting a little bit better. So I felt good and I think you can talk a lot about match play, but at the end of the day you need to shoot good scores that's what I managed to do today. 

“I think I did a good job of not worrying about what Rory was doing. A few times he hit it about 100 yards past me. I was trying not to look at that too much. I knew I had to play well to have a chance. To be honest with you, that's case in every match this week. The players are so good that you need to be on your game. I got into my little zone. Alistair and I work really well and I managed to hit a lot of good shots and make some putts.”

Tommy Fleetwood

“I missed a couple of chances to sort of break away early on. And then the more the round went on, Zach was more in control of the game. I was hanging in there and obviously managed to get the win in the end.

“It's great to get off to a good start. The last time I played in this, I actually lost my first game and then qualified. You've got to be winning your match and try to build momentum. You take one match at a time, but to win the first one is great.”

Thomas Pieters

“The front nine was really good. The back nine we didn't play very well. We gave each other some holes. He gave me a couple more than I gave him, so it worked out for me. But I've got to work on putting for tomorrow. Getting off to a good start is nice. I just need to win my next two now.

“I've always loved match play. I was good at match play in college. I can't remember losing a lot of matches. I don't know, you get on that tee and you need to beat that one guy. Even if you have a bad day and he has a worse day than you, so be it. You don't need to shoot 7- or 8-under each time, you just need to shoot one better.”

GROUP 1

Player Seed Record Points  Career Dell Tech Match Play Record

  • Dustin Johnson  (1)  1-0-0 1  8-9-0
  • Martin Kaymer   (41)   1-0-0 1  15-10-0  
  • Jimmy Walker (18)   0-1-0 0  2-7-0
  • Webb Simpson   (58)   0-1-0 0  7-5-0

 
Group 1, round-by-round

  • RD. 1  - Johnson defeated Simpson, 5 and 3; Kaymer defeated Walker, 3 and 2
  • RD. 2 (THUR.) – Johnson vs. Kaymer,  Walker vs. Simpson
  • RD. 3 (FRI.) – Johnson vs. Walker, Kaymer vs. Simpson

 
In a group full of major champions, Dustin Johnson defeated Webb Simpson in a battle of U.S. Open winners, while two-time major winner Martin Kaymer defeated fellow PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker, 3 and 2.
 
Johnson, who won the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship for the second time in his career earlier this month, is seeking to become the first player to win each of the four World Golf Championships events, with the Dell Technologies Match Play title the only one missing from his resume. Johnson’s WGC victories came at the HSBC Champions (2013), the Mexico Championship (2015), the Bridgestone Invitational (2016) and the Mexico Championship (2017).
 
Johnson and Tiger Woods (18) are the only players with four or more World Golf Championships victories. Although Woods has 18 victories, he failed to collect the HSBC Champions trophy, where he finished T6 in 2009 and 2010 in his only two appearances.
 
With a win at this year’s event, Johnson would join Rory McIlroy (2015) and Tiger Woods as the third player to win the Dell Technologies Match Play as a No. 1 seed. Woods won the tournament three times (2008, 2004 and 2003) as the No. 1 seed.
 
Johnson (2), Justin Thomas (3) and Hideki Matsuyama (2) are multiple winners on the PGA TOUR this season.
 
After becoming the No. 1 player in the Official World Ranking following his win at the Genesis Open, Johnson became the fifth player, and first since Adam Scott in 2014, to win his first PGA TOUR start as the No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking when he captured the Mexico Championship.

  • 1991 Ian Woosnam    Masters Tournament
  • 1999 David Duval    BellSouth Classic
  • 2004 Vijay Singh RBC Canadian Open
  • 2014 Adam Scott    DEAN & DELUCA Invitational
  • 2017 Dustin Johnson  World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship

Johnson (14/2008-present) has at least one win in each of his first ten seasons on the PGA TOUR (the best current streak) and joins Arnold Palmer (17/1955-1971), Jack Nicklaus (17/1962-1978) and Tiger Woods (14/1996-2009) as the only players since 1960 to achieve this feat.

Last season, Johnson claimed the Jack Nicklaus Trophy as PGA TOUR Player of the Year. He also took home the Byron Nelson Award for Adjusted Scoring Average (69.172) and the Arnold Palmer Award as the TOUR’s leading money-winner ($9,365,185) and also finished No. 2 in the FedExCup standings.

Johnson has a 4-3-0 overall record in two Ryder Cup appearances but has won both singles matches. In two Presidents Cup appearances his record is 4-4-1 with one singles victory. Johnson is No. 1 in the current standings for the 2017 Presidents Cup U.S. Team with 7,027 points.

GROUP 2

Player Seed Record Points   Career Dell Tech Match Play Record

  • Gary Woodland  (33)   1-0-0 1 7-3-0   
  • Soren Kjeldsen   (62)   1-0-0 1 1-4-1
  • Rory McIlroy   (2)  0-1-0 0 22-9-1
  • Emiliano Grillo (26)   0-1-0 0 1-3-0 

Group 2 round-by-round

  • RD. 1 – Kjedlsen defeated McIlroy 2 and 1, Woodland defeated Grillo 3 and 2
  • RD. 2 (THUR.) -  McIlroy vs. Woodland, Grillo vs. Kjeldsen
  • RD. 3 (FRI.) –  McIlroy vs. Grillo, Woodland vs. Kjeldsen

 
With his 2-and-1 victory over Rory McIlroy, Soren Kjeldsen records his first victory in his sixth career match at the Dell Technologies Match Play after entering this week with an 0-4-1 record. The loss is just McIlroy’s second first-round loss in his ninth appearance at the Dell Technologies Match Play. McIlroy’s only other first-round loss came in 2013 to Shane Lowry, 1-down.
 
Kjeldsen’s most recent victory came on the European Tour at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in 2015. He and partner Thorbjorn Olesen also won the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf in November representing Denmark. He has four career wins on the European Tour.
 
McIlroy will play Gary Woodland in round two. He defeated Woodland in the championship match in 2015, 4 and 2. Woodland defeated Emiliano Grillo 3 and 2 in the first round.
 
McIlroy finished T7 in the Mexico Championship earlier this month after not playing a tournament since Jan. 15, when he lost a playoff to Graeme Storm in the South African Open. The layoff was forced due to a stress fracture in his ribs. He followed with a T4 at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard.
 
The 2016 FedExCup champion is seeking his third World Golf Championships title having already won the 2014 Bridgestone Invitational and the 2015 Dell Technologies Match Play. McIlroy is one of 11 players with at least two career World Golf Championships victories. Players with multiple World Golf Championships wins include Tiger Woods (18), Dustin Johnson (4), Geoff Ogilvy (3), Jason Day (2), Rory McIlroy (2), Darren Clarke (2), Ernie Els (2), Hunter Mahan (2), Phil Mickelson (2), Ian Poulter (2) and Adam Scott (2).

GROUP 3

Player Seed Record Points   Career Dell Tech Match Play Record

  • Marc Leishman   (28)   1-0-0 1 4-4-1    
  • Pat Perez  (56)   1-0-0 1 2-2-0
  • Lee Westwood   (43)   0-1-0 0 14-20-0  
  • Jason Day (3)  0-1-0 0 21-7-0

 
Group 3 round-by-round

  • RD. 1   Pat Perez defeated Jason Day, concession, Leishman defeated Westwood, 3 and 2
  • RD. 2 (THUR.) –  Day vs. Westwood, Leishman vs. Perez
  • RD. 3 (FRI.) –  Day vs. Leishman, Westwood vs. Perez

 
Jason Day withdrew from the event before finishing his first-round match. In an emotional press conference, he shared that his mother was schedule to have surgery on Friday after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Day is choosing to travel back to Ohio to be with his mother for the surgery.
 
Due to his withdraw, Day will now concede for all three of his first-round matches, meaning Westwood will get a point without teeing it up on Thursday as will Leishman on Friday. Day will receive last-place money and last-place FedExCup points.
 
Marc Leishman won his first-round match against Lee Westwood. Given that Leishman will get an automatic point for his third-round match against Day on Friday, if he wins his second-round match against Pat Perez, he will win the group and lock in his spot in the round of 16.

GROUP 4

Player Seed Record Points   Career Dell Tech Match Play Record

  • Louis Oosthuizen (23)   1-0-0 1 16-7-0
  • Hideki Matsuyama  (4)  0-0-1 ½    6-3-1
  • Jim Furyk  (51)   0-0-1 ½    18-17-1  
  • Ross Fisher   (47)   0-1-0 0 5-5-0    

 
Group 4 round-by-round

  • RD. 1   Matsuyama halved with Furyk, Oosthuizen defeated Fisher, 4 and 3.
  • RD. 2 (THUR.) –  Matsuyama vs. Fisher, Oosthuizen vs. Furyk
  • RD. 3 (FRI.) –  Matsuyama vs. Oosthuizen, Fisher vs. Furyk

Jim Furyk, playing as the No. 51 seed, halved his match with No. 4 seed and Hideki Matsuyama. Furyk missed last year’s event at Austin Country Club due to injury. Furyk faces Louis Oosthuizen, who defeated Ross Fisher, 4 and 3, in the second round. Furyk defeated Louis Oosthuizen in 2015 in the quarterfinals 4-and-2.
 
Oousthuizen finished runner-up in last year’s Dell Technologies Match Play, beating Matt Jones, Bern Wiesberger, Andy Sullivan, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Rafa Cabrera Bello before losing to Jason Day in the finals.
 
Since the end of the 2015-16 PGA TOUR season, Matsuyama has won five of his last 11 worldwide starts, including the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions and the Waste Management Phoenix Open in a four-hole playoff over Webb Simpson. Matsuyama also claimed the Japan Golf Open and the VISA Taiheyo Masters in his home country and beat a small but stellar field in the Bahamas to capture the Hero World Challenge (unofficial win). During this time, he also finished runner-up at the CIMB Classic and the SBS Tournament of Champions.
 
Matsuyama, with two PGA TOUR wins, joins Justin Thomas (3) and Dustin Johnson (2) as multiple winners on the PGA TOUR this season. Matsuyama leads the FedExCup by a small margin over Thomas.

GROUP 5

Player Seed Record Points   Career Dell Tech Match Play Record

  • Hideto Tanihara (54)   1-0-0 1 1-0-0
  • Ryan Moore (32)   0-0-1 ½    7-8-2    
  • Yuta Ikeda    (37)   0-0-1 ½    0-2-1
  • Jordan Spieth (5)  0-1-0 0 8-4-0

 
Group 5 round-by-round

  • RD. 1-  Tanihara defeated Jordan Spieth 4 and 2, Moore and Ikeda halved
  • RD. 2 (THUR.) –  Spieth vs. Ikeda, Moore vs. Tanihara
  • RD. 3 (FRI.) –  Spieth vs. Moore, Ikeda vs. Tanihara

Japan’s Hideto Tanihara, who has won three times on the Japan Golf Tour in the last year, defeated Austin favorite Jordan Spieth, 4 and 2. Tanihara is ranked 13th in the International Team Presidents Cup standings as he looks to make the team for the first time in his career. The 38-year-old has 13 international victories and is playing in the Dell Technologies Match Play for the first time.
 
Entering the final hole 1-down, Yuta Ikeda hit his approach shot from 132 yards to 4-feet and rolled in the birdie to win the 18th hole and halve his match with Ryan Moore. Ikeda has 16 wins on the Japan Golf Tour including three in 2016. He is playing in this event for the third time in his career and the first since 2011. In his previous two appearances, he had failed to advance from the first round before the format was changed to group play.
 
In six starts this season Spieth has four top-10s - a victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am followed a T3 at the SBS Tournament of Champions, a third at the Sony Open in Hawaii and a T9 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. During the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, Spieth shot a tournament-low 8-under 63 in the third round, eventually finishing T12. His week included four hole-outs from off the green, the most by any player that week.

GROUP 6

Player Seed Record Points   Career Dell Tech Match Play Record

  • Justin Thomas (6)  1-0-0 1 1-3-0
  • Kevin Na   (46)   1-0-0 1 4-4-1
  • Matt Fitzpatrick (27)   0-1-0 0 1-3-0
  • Chris Wood  (49)   0-1-0 0 0-6-0 

Group 6 round-by-round

  • RD. 1   Thomas defeated. Wood, 2 and 1;  Na defeated Fitzpatrick, 5 and 4
  • RD. 2 (THUR.) –  Thomas vs. Na, Fitzpatrick vs. Wood
  • RD. 3 (FRI.) –  Thomas vs. Fitzpatrick, Na vs. Wood 

Justin Thomas won the first match of his career at the Dell Technologies Match Play after going 0-3 in group play in 2016, with a 2-and-1 victory over Chris Wood. The loss continue’s Wood’s winless streak putting his record at 0-6-0 in the event. Last year, Thomas was winless in group play losing to Victor Dubuisson, Jordan Spieth and Jamie Donaldson.
 
Already a three-time winner on the PGA TOUR in the 2016-2017 season, Thomas will be seeking his fourth at the Dell Technologies Match Play. Thomas’ first win of the season came as he defended the CIMB Classic title he claimed in 2015 in Malaysia. He added the SBS Tournament of Champions at Kapalua to his resume before winning the following week at the Sony Open in Hawaii after opening the tournament with an 11-under 59 at the par-70 Waialae CC.
 
Thomas is seeking to play in his first Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey later this year. Thomas is currently No. 2 on the U.S. Team standings behind Dustin Johnson.
 
Kevin Na narrowly missed out on advancing from group stage last year at the Dell Technologies Match Play with wins against Smylie Kaufman and Thorbjorn Olesen in the first two rounds, before havling his third-round match with Rory McIlroy. The two then went back to the first tee for a playoff with McIlroy winning with par on the second playoff hole.

GROUP 7

Player Seed Record Points   Career Dell Tech Match Play Record

  • Jon Rahm  (21)   1-0-0 1 1-0-0
  • Sergio Garcia  (7)  0-0-1 ½    18-16-1    
  • Shane Lowry   (53)   0-0-1 ½    3-5-2
  • Kevin Chappell   (38)   0-1-0 0 0-1-0  

Group 7 round-by-round

  • RD. 1 – Garcia halved with. Lowry, Rahm defeated Chappell, 3 and 2
  • RD. 2 (THUR.) –  Garcia vs. Chappell, Rahm vs. Lowry
  • RD. 3 (FRI.) –  Garcia vs. Rahm, Chappell vs. Lowry

Rahm, who finished T3 in his World Golf Championships debut earlier this month at the Mexico Championship, takes the lead in the group with his victory over Kevin Chappell. The 22-year-old Spaniard was No. 137 in the Official World Ranking before winning the Farmers Insurance Open to advance to No. 46.
 
Two more strong performances (T16/Waste Management Phoenix Open, T5/AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am) moved him to No. 37 helping secure his position inside the top 50 and earn a spot in the field at the Mexico Championship and, subsequently into the Dell Technologies Match Play.
 
In his fifth start of his rookie season, Rahm carded a 65 in the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open to win his first career PGA TOUR title by three shots. The win was capped by a lengthy eagle putt from the back fringe on the par-5 18th hole.
 
Rahm will face fellow Spaniard, Sergio Garcia, in the third round.

GROUP 8

Player Seed Record Points   Career Dell Tech Match Play Record

  • Alex Noren   (8)  1-0-0 1 2-2-0
  • Bernd Wiesberger  (36)   1-0-0 1 2-5-1
  • Francesco Molinari (25)   0-1-0 0 2-8-1
  • Thongchai Jaidee (57)   0-1-0 0 5-7-1

Group 8 round-by-round

  • RD. 1   Noren vs. Jaidee, Molinari vs. Wiesberger
  • RD. 2 (THUR.) –  Noren vs. Wiesberger, Molinari vs. Jaidee
  • RD. 3 (FRI.) –  Noren vs. Molinari, Wiesberger vs. Jaidee

GROUP 9

Player Seed Record Points   Career Dell Tech Match Play Record

  • Brooks Koepka   (20)   1-0-0 1 6-3-0
  • Patrick Reed   (9)  0-0-1 ½    6-3-1
  • Jason Dufner  (59)   0-0-1 ½    4-7-1
  • Kevin Kisner (34)   0-1-0 0 1-3-0 

Group 9 round-by-round

  • RD. 1   Reed halved with Dufner, Koepka defeated Kisner, 6 and 5
  • RD. 2 (THUR.) – Reed vs. Kisner, Koepka vs. Dufner
  • RD. 3 (FRI.) –  Reed vs. Koepka, Kisner vs. Dufner 

In a group full of Americans, Patrick Reed, a Houston-area resident, halved his match against Jason Dufner. Reed took a 2-up lead on the 11th hole after four birdies on holes 6, 8, 10 and 11. Dufner fought back with a birdie of his own on the 17thhole to square the match and the two players shared pars on the final hole to each secure a half point.
 
Reed, who became known as “Captain America” after stunning performances at the last two Ryder Cup competitions, has a 6-1-2 record in the biennial competition. He also owns five PGA TOUR titles and a 1-2-1 record in his lone Presidents Cup appearance in 2015.
 
Brooks Koepka entered the Dell Technologies Match Play having missed four of his last six cuts on the PGA TOUR and hasn’t finished better than T42 since his runner-up finish in Las Vegas in November. His first-round opponent, Kevin Kisner, has made six consecutive cuts including five top-25 finishes as well a runner-up finish at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. Despite recent form, Koepka defeated Kisner, 6 and 5.
 
Koepka advanced through the group stage and into the quaterfinals in last year’s Dell Technologies Match Play before losing to Jason Day, 3 and 2.

GROUP 10

Player Seed Record Points   Career Dell Tech Match Play Record

  • Tyrrell Hatton (10)   1-0-0 1 1-0-0
  • Rafa Cabrera Bello  (22)   1-0-0 1 7-3-1
  • Jeunghun Wang (40)   0-1-0 0 0-1-0
  • Charles Howell III (61)   0-1-0 0 5-9-0

Group 10 round-by-round

  • RD. 1   Hatton defeated Howell, 2 and 1, Cabrera Bello defeated Wang, 4 and 3
  • RD. 2 (THUR.) –  Hatton vs. Wang, Cabrera Bello vs. Howell
  • RD. 3 (FRI.) – Hatton vs. Cabrera Bello, Wang vs. Howell

No. 10 seed Tyrrell Hatton of England, won his first career match at the Dell Technologies Match Play with a 2-and-1 victory over Charles Howell III. In four starts this season on the PGA TOUR, Hatton has the following finishes:

  • World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions T23
  • The Honda Classic T4
  • World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship  T10
  • Arnold Palmer Invitational T4 

With the finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Hatton went from 217 to 340 non-member FedExCup points and has joined the PGA TOUR as a special temporary membership for the remainder of the 2016-2017 PGA TOUR season.

GROUP 11

Player Seed Record Points   Career Dell Tech Match Play Record

  • Russell Knox (17)   1-0-0 1 2-1-1
  • K.T. Kim (64)   1-0-0 1 1-2-0
  • Bill Haas    (42)   0-1-0 0 6-7-0    
  • Danny Willett (11)   0-1-0 0 7-3-1  

Group 11 round-by-round

  • RD. 1   Kim defeated Willett, 4 and 2, Knox defeated Haas, 3 and 2
  • RD. 2 (THUR.) – Willett vs. Haas, Knox vs. Kim
  • RD. 3 (FRI.) –  Willett vs. Knox, Haas vs. Kim

GROUP 12

Player Seed Record Points   Career Dell Tech Match Play Record

  • Paul Casey    (12)   1-0-0 1 21-12-1  
  • Charl Schwartzel  (24)   1-0-0 1 12-8-0  
  • Byeong Hun An  (45)   0-1-0 0 1-2-2
  • Joost Luiten (60)   0-1-0 0 2-3-0 

Group 12 round-by-round

  • RD. 1- Casey defeated Luiten, 2 and 1; Schwartzel defeated An, 6 and 5
  • RD. 2 (THUR.) – Casey vs. An, Schwartzel vs. Luiten
  • RD. 3 (FRI.) –  Casey vs. Schwartzel, An vs. Luiten

Charl Schwartzel defeated Byeong Hun An, 6 and 5 despite being 1-down through four holes. The win was the largest margin of victory in Wednesday’s first round.
 
Looking ahead to day 3, Casey defeated Charl Schwartzel 3 and 1 in round 4 in 2015. Casey was eliminated in the first round in each of his first four starts at this event (2003-2006). Since then, he has advanced to at leas the third round in all but one year and has reached the championship match twice, finishing runner-up to Geoff Ogilvy in 2009 and Ian Poulter in 2010.

GROUP 13

Player Seed Record Points   Career Dell Tech Match Play Record

  • Bubba Watson (13)   1-0-0 1 13-7-1  
  • Thomas Pieters  (30)   1-0-0 1 2-1-1
  • Scot Piercy   (39)   0-1-0 0 3-3-2    
  • Jhonattan Vegas (55)   0-1-0 0 0-1-0 

Group 13 round-by-round

  • RD. 1 – Watson defeated Vegas, 1-up; Pieters defeated Piercy, 3 and 2
  • RD. 2 (THUR.) –  Watson vs. Piercy, Pieters vs. Vegas
  • RD. 3 (FRI.) –  Watson vs. Pierters, Piercy vs. Vegas

Playing in the Dell Technologies Match Play for the seventh consecutive year, Bubba Watson continued his streak of never losing a first-round match with a 1-up victory over former University of Texas Longhorn Jhonattan Vegas. Watson’s best finish at this event came in his first appearance in 2011 when he lost in the consolation match to Matt Kuchar and finished 4th.

GROUP 14

Player Seed Record Points   Career Dell Tech Match Play Record

  • Phil Mickelson (14)   1-0-0 1 19-12-0    
  • Daniel Berger (35)   1-0-0 1 1-3-0
  • J.B. Holmes   (31)   0-1-0 0 6-6-1
  • Si Woo Kim   (63)   0-1-0 0 0-1-0 

Group 14 round-by-round

  • RD. 1 – Mickelson defeated Kim, 5 and 2; Berger defeated Holmes, 7 and 5
  • RD. 2 (THUR.) –  Mickelson vs. Berger, Holmes vs. Kim
  • RD. 3 (FRI.) –  Mickelson vs. Holmes, Berger vs. Kim 

Phil Mickelson, playing in the 50th World Golf Championships event of his career, and Daniel Berger, each handled their first-round opponents with Mickelson defeating K.T. Kim, 5 and 2, and Berger defeating J.B. Holmes, 7 and 5.
 
Mickelson defeated Daniel Berger 1-up in the second round last year in a match where Berger injured his left wrist on the final hole. The two will face each other on Thursday in the second round.

GROUP 15

Player Seed Record Points   Career Dell Tech Match Play Record

  • Branden Grace   (15)   1-0-0 1 5-5-0
  • William McGirt   (48)   1-0-0 1 1-0-0
  • Brandt Snedeker (19)   0-1-0 0 5-8-1
  • Andy Sullivan  (52)   0-1-0 0 3-4-0

Group 15 round-by-round

  • RD. 1 – Grace defeated Sullivan, 4 and 2;  McGirt defeated Snedeker, 2-up
  • RD. 2 (THUR.) –  Grace vs. McGirt, Snedeker vs. Sullivan
  • RD. 3 (FRI.) –  Grace vs. Snedeker, McGirt vs. Sullivan 

No. 15 seed Branden Grace defeated Andy Sullivan, 4-and-2, in the first match of the tournament. Grace never trailed in the match and only lost one hole (No. 8). His scorecard showed five birdies and one bogey.
 
Grace lost his first-round match in each of the last two years, but returned to win his second and third-round matches each time. In 2015, his 2-1 group-play record was enough to advance to the round of 16 where he lost to Tommy Fleetwood, 2 and 1. Last year, Grace finished group play in a tie with Chris Kirk and lost the playoff on the first hole.
 
William McGirt birdied the 18th hole to win his match against Brandt Snedeker, 2-up. McGirt bogeyed the second hole to go 1-down, but played the remaining 16 holes in 4-under-par.
 
McGirt will face Grace in the second round.

GROUP 16

Player Seed Record Points   Career Dell Tech Match Play Record

  • Tommy Fleetwood (29)   1-0-0 1 4-2-0
  • Matt Kuchar   (16)   0-0-1 ½    20-7-2
  • Brendan Steele  (50)   0-0-1 ½    0-0-1
  • Zach Johnson  (44)   0-1-0 0 12-13-0 

Group 16 round-by-round

  • RD. 1 – Kuchar halved with Steele, Fleetwood defeated Johnson, 1-up
  • RD. 2 (THUR.) –  Kuchar vs. Johnson, Fleetwood vs. Steele
  • RD. 3 (FRI.) –  Kuchar vs. Fleetwood, Johnson vs. Steele