World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play Recap
The World Golf Championships–Dell Technologies Match Play saw 64 professional golfers compete in group play before sixteen advanced to a single-elimination knockout round, a similar format to the World Cup.
Eventually, the only match-play event on the PGA Tour calendar reached its climax with a final between two rising stars. Here’s what went down this past week at Austin Country Club.
The top 16 ranked golfers entering the tournament were seeded into groups of four, and there were some major surprises in group play.
In a difficult Group 2, Billy Horschel advanced to the knockout round.
The past champion Horschel tied against Keith Mitchell before defeating Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm to advance out of his group. Against the latter, Horschel took the lead after the second hole en route to a 5 & 4 victory.
Group 12 featured two major winners in Jordan Spieth and Shane Lowry, but Canadian Mackenzie Hughes prevailed to advance.
Hughes lost his opening match to Spieth 4 & 3 but rebounded by defeating Lowry and Taylor Montgomery to advance out of the group.
J.T. Poston came into the tournament fresh off a tenth-place finish at the Valspar Championship and backed it up in style.
Poston defeated seeded Sungjae Im, Tommy Fleetwood and Maverick McNealy to top Group 16 and advance into the knockout round.
Once group play concluded, the 16 group winners advanced to the knockout round, and the thrilling play continued.
Out of eight matchups in the Round of 16, all but one lower-ranked player advanced. The only ‘underdog’ to reach the quarterfinals was Hughes, who ousted Max Homa, winner of two PGA Tour events this season.
The quarterfinals saw some of the biggest names in golf go head-to-head, including a matchup between two major winners in Scottie Scheffler and Jason Day.
After retaking the lead on the fourth hole, Day was up by three following an eagle on the sixth.
However, Scheffler fought back, going two up after the 14th hole and putting away the Australian Day on the 17th.
Rory McIlroy met Xander Schauffele in a duel of seeded players ranked in the top 10. After a birdie on the first hole, Schauffele never trailed McIlroy but the two were tied going into the 18th hole. A birdie for McIlroy gave him the win and a spot in the semifinals.
The semifinals seemed to set up a highly-anticipated final between Scheffler and McIlroy, but Sam Burns and Cameron Young had other plans.
Against Scheffler, Burns led through seven holes but fell behind on the back nine.
Burns birdied the 17th hole before Scheffler tied him again on the 18th. It took three playoff holes, but Burns outlasted the world No. 1 to reach the final.
The second semifinal saw McIlroy take on Young, the reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. Despite McIlroy leading for most of the match, Young made birdies on the 16th and 18th holes before triumphing on the first playoff hole.
Burns and Young arrived at the final in pursuit of their first victory at the event. Young led after a birdie on the second hole until the fifth. It was all Burns from there, taking six of the next eight holes, winning the event with a 6 & 5 final showing.
Will Duerksen is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.