AUSTIN, Texas – For the first time since the third round of last year’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Francesco Molinari has lost a match, falling to Kevin Kisner in the semifinals on Saturday.
The Italian was 5-0-0 this week at Austin Country Club, matching his mark from last year’s Ryder Cup, and rallied to tie the match with birdies at Nos. 16 and 17, but he three-putted the last hole to lose his first match since Day 3 of last year’s WGC-Match Play.
This is the second consecutive year Kisner has advanced to the championship match. Last year he lost the final, 7 and 6, to Bubba Watson.
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“Fortunate enough to get through. I knew he was going to make a run. He’s one of the best players in the world,” said Kisner, the first player to advance to the championship match in consecutive years since Hunter Mahan in 2012-13. “I didn’t play great on the back nine and neither did he, and I was fortunate to come out on top. I need to clean that up for the finals to win the trophy.”
He’ll play Matt Kuchar who defeated Lucas Bjerregaard, 1 up, in what was also a closely contested match. Although Kuchar, who won the Match Play in 2013, took a lead with a birdie on the first hole, he never led by more than a hole until he closed out the Dane with a two-putt par at the last.
“I feel that this was NCAA Tournament survive and advance,” said Kuchar, who lost to Kisner in the Round of 16 at last year’s WGC-Match Play. “It was not great golf. At first it was just trying to plod along, didn’t have my best stuff, and it was a case of survive and advance.”