Woods' big run sends him to weekend against McIlroy
Mar 30, 2019, 01:28
Dell Technologies Match Play is the second of four WGC events of 2019 and is contested at the Austin Country Club in Texas.
The former world number one plays Patrick Cantlay tomorrow, knowing that if 44th seed Snedeker can beat 61st seed Aaron Wise, Tiger's tournament will be over.
"It's exciting, " said McIlroy about facing Woods. There was just a lot of ebb and flow to this match.
"And we did a good job of not letting that bother me".
Combined with his loss to Charles Howell on day one, Smith can not make it out of the group stage despite having to face off against pool rival Paul Casey on Friday.
The 14-time Major champion trailed fellow American Aaron Wise through 10 holes, but battled back to seal the win when the 22-year-old missed a short putt on the 17th, handing Woods a 3 & 1 victory.
"It was a pretty emotional match because we were up and down, up and down. I had to make a few birdies just to hang in there on the front nine and to finish with two birdies on 15 and 16 was very nice".
Several other favored players would have loved to have squeaked out a win with less than their "A" games Wednesday.
"Off the tee I'm driving it as good as I ever have". Na found the green with his approach, while Watson's first attempt failed to get out of the bunker. Snedeker seized control with a 10-foot birdie on the 16th, and closed him out on the next hole.
"They [the fans] were all pulling for Tiger", Snedeker told the Golf Channel. Questionable decisions. And a match play performance that suggested he'd be getting an earlier start on Masters preparation.
The tournament has not been kind to defending champions since it moved to Austin in 2016. He eventually closed it out a 5-and-4 victor.
He still has to win four matches, starting with a big one Saturday morning.
Woods led for the first eight holes but stumbled around the turn to go from two up to one down with eight holes remaining.
Ian Poulter was on his way to atoning for his 8-and-6 quarterfinal loss a year ago to Kevin Kisner until he watched Kisner jar a wedge from 58 yards for eagle, forcing Poulter to birdie the last two holes to win. He was 5 up with five to play against Kevin Na.
"I'm probably the most hated man in Texas right now", Snedeker said.
"I was trying to manage the energy", Casey said. Spieth, the No. 4 seed in this event previous year, is now at No. 28.
There was also joy for England's Ian Poulter, who birdied the final two holes for a two-up victory over the US's Kevin Kisner. It was a loss to Kisner in this event past year that prevented Poulter from reaching the quarterfinals and securing a spot in the Masters.
Defending champion Bubba Watson lost his opening match for the first time since he began playing this event in 2011.
"It's definitely going to be one of those ones where I need to go out there and stick to my game plan, and not really look at what he does until I maybe have to towards the end".
In a change in format this year, the 64 players have been divided into 16 groups of four. "But I've hardly been playing coming here".
Woods secured the passage out of his group and has booked a match with McIlroy in Sunday's first round of elimination in the $US10.25 million ($NZ15m) tournament. "It was a match I wanted to win. Today was really important to come out strong and do whatever you need to do".
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