AUSTIN, Texas — Tiger Woods moved on the quarterfinals of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play on Saturday with a wild 2-and-1 win over Rory McIlroy in the Round of 16.
“Well, we had some interesting conditions today,” Woods said on the 17th green during a post-round interview with Golf Channel’s Steve Sands.
Three up through 10, Woods saw his lead shrink to one when a cold front came barreling through Austin Country Club, bringing rain and severe winds.
McIlroy took the par-5 12th with a birdie and did the same at 13, when the weather arrived in full force.
Following tense halves at Nos. 14 and 15, the match swung in shocking fashion at the par-5 16th.
McIlroy appeared in position to pull even when he hit his drive nearly 400 yards, as Woods’ tee ball came to rest under the lip of a fairway bunker. Woods managed to find the green in three, leaving McIlroy a clear opening.
And then everything went sideways.
McIlroy fatted his approach onto the grass upslope of a bunker. From there, he sailed his ball over the green, over a cart path and up against a set of wood planks. Unable to find relief or make a swing, McIlroy picked up his ball, and played his fifth shot from that same spot above the front bunker. The second try would come up short, finding yet another greenside bunker. He would go on to concede the hole to Woods, falling 2 down when he seemed in prime position to pull all square.
The match came to its end one hole later when Woods narrowly avoided a penalty area and snaked a 15-foot for par to halve the hole and close out McIlroy, 2 and 1.
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“[With] the wind blowing as hard as it is, his ball got knocked down,” Woods said, referring to McIlroy’s second at 16. “My ball here on 17 was supposed to be downwind and came back in my face. That’s just the way it is with these hills, the way the fronts came through. It was a difficult day for both of us.”
McIlroy declined media availability shortly after the match’s conclusion. Woods went into the clubhouse to eat lunch before taking on Lucas Bjerregaard in the quarterfinals at 2:10 p.m. ET.
As for his head-to-head showdown with McIlroy:
“It was big for us inside the ropes, too,” Woods said. “It was a fun match for us. I know that we battled pretty hard against one another, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I was fortunate to come out on top.”