Sixteen players battled Saturday morning at Austin Country Club for the chance to compete in the quarterfinals of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship. Here’s how the Round of 16 played out:
(48) Kevin Kisner def. (36) Haotong Li, 6 and 5: Kisner needed to beat Ian Poulter in a playoff to reach the Round of 16. Li wishes he didn’t. Kisner won the first three holes and was 5 up through eight. Kisner was on the record for seven birdies in 13 holes. Li made one.
(7) Francesco Molinari def. (10) Paul Casey, 5 and 4: The battle of European Ryder Cup teammates went to the man who went undefeated at Le Golf National in 2018. Molinari continued his stellar match play performance. He was 1 down after the first, but quickly turned that into a 2-up advantage. He kept that lead before winning the 12th, 13th and 14th holes to close out Casey.
(19) Louis Oosthuizen def. (17) Marc Leishman, 2 and 1: The Presidents Cup teammates battled closely throughout the morning, but Leishman could never get closer than 2 down on the back nine. After making five birdies in a seven-hole stretch around the turn, Oosthuizen steadily parred his way in for victory. He will face Kisner in the quarterfinals.
(50) Lucas Bjerregaard def. (37) Henrik Stenson, 3 and 2: Stenson was undefeated in pool play but ran into a buzz saw in the relatively unknown Bjerregaard. The 27-year-old Dane built a 2-up lead by the the turn and the 42-year-old Swede never got any closer. Bjerregaard made seven birdies over his first 14 holes to produce the upset.
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(23) Matt Kuchar def. (35) Tyrrell Hatton, 4 and 3: The match was all square through five holes, but Kuchar won the sixth and eighth holes to move 2 up. Hatton was able to produce only one birdie on the day, allowing Kuchar to plod his way to victory.
(57) Kevin Na def. (2) Justin Rose, 2 up: This was the first match of the morning session to reach the 18th hole. Rose was in control early, leading 2 up through 11 holes. But Na pulled all square by winning the next two holes. He added a third straight victory at the 13th to go 1 up, and a fourth consecutive birdie gave him a 2-up lead through 14. Rose was able to cut his deficit to 1 down with one to play, but Na birdied the last to advance. Na will next face Molinari in the quarterfinals.
(13) Tiger Woods def. (4) Rory McIlroy, 2 and 1: It wasn’t the explosive, fireworks matchup anticipated, as Woods did enough to hold off a sluggish McIlroy. With McIlroy unable to make a birdie, Woods built a 3-up lead. McIlroy closed the margin to 1 down, and then hit a colossal, 395-yard drive at the par-5 16th. What happened next determined the match. McIlroy left his second shot short and right of the green, in a terrible spot outside a bunker. He then popped his next shot over the green and OB. Woods just watched as McIlroy imploded and conceded the hole. Woods closed out the match with a 13-foot par putt at the 17th. He faces Bjerregaard in the Elite 8.
(26) Sergio Garcia def. (40) Brendan Grace, 1 up: This was the final match to conclude, and didn’t do so until two of the quarterfinal matches had already started. Garcia trailed by as much as 2 down and never led by more than 1 up. But a par at the 15th and a birdie at the 16th turned a 1-down deficit into a 1-up advantage, and he parred out to advance to face Kuchar.