Victor Dubuisson a débuté le WGC-Dell Match Play par une victoire face à l’Américain Justin Thomas (3&2). Le Cannois n’a pas eu à forcer son talent pour dominer le jeune Américain, auteur de nombreuses fautes avec cinq trous joués au-dessus du par notamment.
Le finaliste 2014 débute idéalement son tournoi, tout comme Jordan Spieth qui a battu Jamie Donaldson dans ce même Groupe 1 sur un score identique (3&2). Le match entre le numéro un mondial et le Français jeudi aura tout d’un seizième de finale avant le tableau à élimination direct.
Les deux cartons du jour ont été l’oeuvre d’Américains expérimentés puisque Phil Mickelson a écrasé le jeune Anglais Matthew Fitzpatrick 5&4, et Matt Kuchar n’a fait qu’une bouchée de l’Indien Anirban Lahiri (6&5).
JORDAN SPIETH, USA def. JAMIE DONALDSON, Wales, 3 and 2
Spieth won the opening hole with a par and maintained the lead the rest of the way. A four-hole stretch with three birdies propelled him to a 3-up lead through six holes. After the turn, Spieth produced a series of pars to keep Donaldson at bay. Donaldson was 2 over for his 16 holes while Spieth, the No. 1 overall seed this week, was 3 under.
Said Spieth: « I felt comfortable, I really did. And then that eighth hole is a really hard hole (for his lone bogey). Misread a couple of the putts there, which is fine. I still felt OK with the match. »
VICTOR DUBUISSON, France def. JUSTIN THOMAS, USA, 3 and 2
Dubuisson was even par on his round through 11 holes but found himself 3 up at that point, as Thomas bogeyed four of his first nine holes. Thomas had a brief glimmer of hope after a birdie at the 13th, but gave it back with a double on the next hole. Dubuisson closed it out with a bogey at the par-5 16th. Thomas hit just seven of 16 greens.
Said Dubuisson: « It’s a course you win a lot of holes with par. So I kind of used a little bit of my experience. »
Group records: Spieth 1-0, Dubuisson 1-0, Thomas 0-1, Donaldson 0-1
JASON DAY, Australia def. GRAEME McDOWELL, N. Ireland, 3 and 2
Day was near-flawless with five birdies, but it may have come at a price, as his back tightened up late, forcing him to the physio trailer after his round. McDowell was 2-up through four holes after a birdie and a conceded hole by Day, his lone stumble of the round. But then the 2014 Match Play champ stormed back. He birdied four of the next five holes to grab the lead at the turn, then won two more holes early on the back nine, including the par-5 12th with a birdie putt from 13 feet.
THONGCHAI JAIDEE, Thailand def. PAUL CASEY, England, 2 and 1
After recording one birdie in his first 10 holes, Jaidee reeled off three in a four-hole stretch (Nos. 11-14), including a 16-footer on No. 14, to go 3-up. It was a lead he would never relinquish, as Jaidee closed out Casey with a par on No. 17, surprising the Englishman who had won 15 of his previous 19 matches in this event.
Group records: Day 1-0, Jaidee 1-0, Casey 0-1, McDowell 0-1
RORY McILROY, N. Ireland def. THORBJORN OLESEN, Denmark, 1 up
The defending champ never held the lead until the final hole. He trailed after 12 of the first 14 holes but a birdie at the 15th squared the match. At the decisive 18th, Olesen sent his approach past the green, then failed to find the green with his next shot. He had to make a 9-foot putt just for bogey, but McIlroy made his 3-footer for par to win the hole and the match.
Said McIlroy: The quality of golf out there wasn’t too good. I feel like it’s hard for the quality to be that good too because the wind is gusty. … I didn’t have my best stuff today, but I hung in there and hit good shots when you needed to. I felt like I played tee-to-green very well from sort of 14 on. So I’m just happy to get the win. »
KEVIN NA, USA def. SMYLIE KAUFMAN, USA, 2 and 1
Na used two late birdies to dispatch Kaufman. Stuck in a back-and-forth battle for most of the afternoon, Na hit his 56-yard approach shot on the par-4 13th to 8 feet and converted the birdie opportunity to go 1 up. From there, he won the next two holes — the 15th was won with a birdie — to go dormie before closing out the rookie with a par on the 17th.
Group records: McIlroy 1-0, Na 1-0, Olesen 0-1, Kaufman 0-1
BUBBA WATSON, USA and PATTON KIZZIRE, USA, halved
Watson entered the final hole 1 up after Kizzire bogeyed the 17th. But Kizzire bounced back with a clutch drive at the 18th followed by a brilliant approach to 6 feet for the birdie to get the half-point. It was a tight match throughout, with neither player getting more than a 1-up lead. Each player had three birdies for the round.
EMILIANO GRILLO, Argentina def. J.B. HOLMES, USA, 3 and 2
Grillo wasted little time making his presence known in his first Match Play appearance. The Argentine was 5 up through the opening 7 holes, thanks to some precise iron play and four birdies. In total, his first four birdies were from a combined 25 feet. Holmes didn’t do himself any favors during the match, as he recorded five bogeys over those first seven holes. He closed Grillo’s lead to 3 up on No. 14, but that was as close as he would get.
Said Grillo: « Yeah, definitely played great on the front nine. It’s a great format. He started playing well on the back nine. And he started closing the gap. But I was able to hold in there. It’s a very difficult course. Most of the holes out here, par is a good score. »
Group records: Grillo 1-0, Watson 0-0-1, Kizzire 0-0-1, Holmes 0-1
JASON DUFNER, USA def. RICKIE FOWLER, USA, 2 and 1
The two friends put on a good show, with Dufner delivering the decisive blow with a 27 1/2-foot birdie putt at the 17th for the win. Dufner led for most of the match; at one point, he was 3 up through 11 after his fourth birdie of the day. But Fowler made a late rally, squaring the match after Dufner three-putted the 15th. Dufner then bounced back, closing it out with consecutive birdies.
Said Dufner: « I played a lot of good holes today. I feel like I played maybe a little bit better than Rickie. I had control of the match maybe a little bit more than he did today. »
Said Fowler: « He made more putts than I did today and that was probably the little bit of difference. »
BYEONG-HUN AN, Korea and SCOTT PIERCY, USA, halved
Piercy came from 3 down with six holes to play to get the half-point. In control for most of the afternoon, An watched as Piercy started to chip away at his 3-up lead following a concession at No. 14. Following a birdie on No. 16 that brought An’s lead to 1 up, Piercy hit his approach shot on the last to 3 feet before recording his sixth birdie of the day. Piercy and An combined for 10 birdies during the match.
Said Piercy: « You know, I feel like I gave him about three holes right in the middle, 7, 8, 9. I hit some bad shots. He still hit good shots. I felt like he had a couple loose ones, kind of gave me back a couple there, 14 and 16, a little bit. I was clawing and grinding. »
Group records: Dufner 1-0, An 0-0-1, Piercy 0-0-1, Fowler 0-1
ADAM SCOTT, Australia and THOMAS PIETERS, Belgium, halved
Scott seemed to finally have the match in control with a couple of birdies early on the back nine. He was 2 up through 13 after nearing driving the green at the par-4 hole and getting up-and-down for birdie. But the Belgium rallied down the stretch. His birdie from 6 feet at the par-4 16th won the hole, and he followed with a 21-foot birdie putt at the 17th to square the match. He had to make a 5-footer for par to get the half-point.
Said Pieters: « 2-down with three to go, you’re thinking half or a win would be a very nice finish. But we both played some good golf. I think a half is good for today. »
BILL HAAS, USA def. CHRIS WOOD, England, 2 and 1
Haas lost his opening hole with a bogey. But from there – pretty impressive. He was a bogey-free 5 under in the next 12 holes, eventually overcoming a gritty performance by Wood, who also played well with three birdies and just one bogey. Haas’ consecutive birdies at 12 and 13, the latter from 7 feet, gave him the lead for good.
Group records: Haas 1-0, Scott 0-0-1, Pieters 0-0-1, Wood 0-1
MATT KUCHAR, USA def. ANIRBAN LAHIRI, India, 6 and 5
In the biggest rout of the afternoon, Kuchar used an eagle on the par-5 12th and a couple untimely bogeys from Lahiri to close out the match after just 13 holes. Aside from the eagle, Kuchar was fairly quiet for most of the round. He only had three birdies on his card and hit 5 out of 10 fairways at Austin Country Club.
JUSTIN ROSE, England def. FABIAN GOMEZ, Argentina, 2 up
Rose and Gomez opened the afternoon with matching bogeys on their first three holes to keep things at all square. That proved to be Rose’s only hiccup during the match. After taking a 1-up lead on the fourth hole, Rose stretched it to 4 up following back-to-back birdies on Nos. 11 and 12. Gomez got within 1 down after a birdie on the 16th, but Rose won the 18th to secure the full point.
Said Rose: « I just really bullied myself into hitting a good one on 18. I asked myself a lot of questions and hit a great shot. It was nice to finish that way. I’m all for rest. »
Group records: Kuchar 1-0, Rose 1-0, Gomez 0-1, Lahiri 0-
ROBERT STREB, USA def. DUSTIN JOHNSON, USA, 3 and 2
Johnson found the water with his approach shot at the third hole and made double bogey. Things didn’t get much better for him the rest of the day, as he finished his day with four more bogeys (countered by two birdies) on a course that may not necessarily suit his game. Streb played solid on the front to go 3 up at the turn and made two of his three birdies on the back to maintain a nice cushion.
Said Streb: « I played pretty solid, nothing special. Enough to get by … I haven’t been playing well lately. It was nice to win one of those, but I’ve still got a few more to go. »
KIRADECH APHIBARNRAT, Thailand def. JIMMY WALKER, USA, 2 and 1
Mistakes during the middle of the round proved to be too much for Walker. Following a strong start, Walker recorded four straight bogeys (Nos. 7-10) to go 2 down through 10. Aphibarnrat made three birdies to go along with three bogeys, but it was good enough to secure the win.
Said Aphibarnrat: « Match play, anything can happen, especially this golf course. You have to stay patient. Even (if) you hit a good shot on the first drive, it doesn’t mean you are going to win. They can bounce any way. »
Group records: Streb 1-0, Aphibarnrat 1-0, Johnson 0-1, Walker 0-1
PHIL MICKELSON, USA def. MATTHEW FITZPATRICK, England, 5 and 4
The 21-year-old seemed to have the early jitters against the five-time major winner, with bogeys on two of his first thee holes. In command early, Mickelson never lost a hole in his first appearance in this event since 2011. He was 5 up at the turn and coasted from there, needing only three birdies in the win. Mickelson hit 7 of 11 fairways and 11 of 14 greens.
Said Mickelson: « I hit a lot of fairways today and that allowed me to make some birdies on the front nine. … That was the key. I really didn’t make any mistakes. It was a good, fun match. »
PATRICK REED, USA def. DANIEL BERGER, USA, 1 up
Two of the game’s rising stars went the distance, with Reed prevailing in a tight battle. Early on, it appeared Reed was in complete control, extending his lead to 3 up on two separate occasions. But Berger made things interesting over the final six holes with three birdies to cut Reed’s lead to 1 up. Berger went on to birdie the last, but Reed matched him with the shot of the match — a pitch from just off the green that rolled to within a foot of the cup for a kick-in birdie.
Group records: Mickelson 1-0, Reed 1-0, Fitzpatrick 0-1, Berger 0-1
BROOKS KOEPKA, USA def. BILLY HORSCHEL, USA, 3 and 2
Koepka was 3 down after a bogey at the eighth, his fourth bogey of the match. But then he flipped the switch. He won the next four holes to grab the lead, and eventually finished with five birdies in his last eight holes to storm past Horschel, who could get nothing going after his eagle on the par-5 sixth.
DANNY WILLETT, England and JACO VAN ZYL, South Africa halved
Willett and Van Zyl each received a half-point but went around the course in completely different ways. Van Zyl had a relatively stress-free day with two birdies and a bogey over 18 holes. Willett, on the other hand, recorded four birdies, two bogeys and a double in his first 12 holes but still managed to hold a 1-up lead. Van Zyl would go on to birdie the 16th to square the match.
Group records: Koepka 1-0, Willett 0-0-1, Van Zyl 0-0-1, Horschel 0-1
CHRIS KIRK, USA def. BRANDEN GRACE, S. Africa, 3 and 1
With three straight birdies and an eagle in his first six holes, Kirk pulled ahead of Grace early on and never looked back. Kirk, who never trailed at any point, needed only 22 putts in 17 holes. He also holed nearly 100 feet of putts (99 feet, 11 inches), and finished the day 6-under before the match came to a close on the 17th hole.
RUSSELL KNOX, Scotland and DAVID LINGMERTH, Sweden, halved
Knox and Lingmerth each earned a half-point in a match that featured seven birdies and an eagle. Lingmerth held a slender 1-up lead after a birdie on the 15th, but Knox came back with one of his own — an 18-foot birdie — on the 17th to square the match. Both players made par on the 18th to close out a see-saw battle that never saw either player go more than 1 up.
Group records: Kirk 1-0, Knox 0-0-1, Lingmerth 0-0-1, Grace 0-
KEVIN KISNER, USA def. SOREN KJELDSEN, Denmark, 2 and 1
Kisner, playing in a match-play format for the first time since turning pro in 2007, won four of the first five holes and never looked back. A great approach on the opening hole to within 6 feet set the tone, and he followed with two other birdie putts inside 7 feet in that opening stretch. Kjeldsen had a chance to gain ground when Kisner went through a lull in the middle of the match but could manage just one birdie in that stretch. Kisner’s 11-foot birdie putt at the 13th put him 4 up and gave him plenty of cushion down the stretch.
Said Kisner: « Got a little tighter than I wanted to, but glad to get it done. »
RAFA CABRERA BELLO, Spain, def. HIDEKI MATSUYAMA, Japan, 1 up
Cabrera Bello built a sizable lead on the front nine but had to hold on down the stretch. After going 3 up at the turn, Cabrera Bello watched as Matsuyama erased the deficit in five holes to square the match. Even with the momentum going against him, the Spaniard managed to play his best golf down the stretch, as he rolled in a 6-footer for birdie on No. 16 and another on No. 17.
Said Cabrera Bello: « I had a little bit of a messy start of the back nine. Hideki also played really good those holes. … I told myself that these types of things happen in match play, that there’s still a lot to play for. I really played good coming (down) the last three holes. »
Group records: Kisner 1-0, Cabrera Bello 1-0, Matsuyama 0-1, Kjeldsen
SERGIO GARCIA, Spain def. LEE WESTWOOD, England, 1 up
Garcia came out on top in a roller-coaster match that featured five lead changes and saw both players go 2 up at different points. Garcia recorded three birdies, but they came in a four-hole stretch (Nos. 9-12) that swung the match in the Spaniard’s direction, taking him from 1 down to 2 up. From there, Garcia managed to keep it together over the final six holes, getting up-and-down from a greenside bunker on No. 18.
MARC LEISHMAN, Australia and RYAN MOORE, USA, halved
Leishman let one slip away as he bogeyed the final hole, allowing Moore to steal a half-point. After his eagle putt from 19 feet at the par-5 sixth gave him the lead, Leishman maintained his advantage with a string of 11 consecutive pars. But his approach at the 18th landed past the pin in the rough, and he couldn’t get up-and-down from 15 feet. Moore, who had three birdies on his round, made his par putt from 3 feet.
Group records: Garcia 1-0, Leishman 0-0-1, Moore 0-0-1, Moore 0-1
ZACH JOHNSON, USA def. MARCUS FRASER, Australia, 4 and 3
Johnson made four birdies on the front nine but was only 1 up as he made the turn. It only took three holes for Johnson to land the deciding blow on the back nine — an 11-foot eagle putt on the 12th that found the bottom of the cup and extended his lead to 3 up. Fraser had an eagle of his own on the sixth, but a pair of bogeys on Nos. 11 and 14 proved to be too much for the Australian to overcome.
MARTIN KAYMER, Germany def. SHANE LOWRY, Ireland, 1 up
It wasn’t a particularly pretty match until the final hole, but Kaymer managed to win despite four bogeys. Three of them came on the front side, but he still made the turn all square. The match continued back-and-forth until Kaymer won the 17th when Lowry missed a par putt inside 4 feet. Both players then birdied the final hole, with Kaymer driving the green with a 358-yard drive that set up a two-putt from 52 1/2 feet.
Said Kaymer: « It was a sensational finish, but the rest was very average, I would say. I didn’t hit many fairways today. I couldn’t really get the driver going, but I stayed into the game. We gave each other way too many chances. »
Group records: Johnson 1-0, Kaymer 1-0, Lowry 0-1, Fraser 0-1
BRANDT SNEDEKER, USA def. CHARLEY HOFFMAN, USA, 2 and 1
In a see-saw match, Snedeker was 1 down through 13. But he won the 14th by saving par from out of the fairway bunker while Hoffman three-putted, then won the 15th with a 25-foot birdie to take the lead, then padded it with another birdie at the 16th. In all, there were nine lead changes, with Snedeker posting six birdies to Hoffman’s three.
Said Snedeker: « It’s amazing how momentum can switch like that in a match and just change the whole output of the match. At that point (on 14), I thought I hit it in the water off the tee and thought I was going down two. All of a sudden, it flip-flops and I go to even and have all the momentum. »
CHARL SCHWARTZEL, S. Africa def. DANNY LEE, New Zealand, 1 up
Schwartzel never trailed during the match and stretched his lead to 2 up on two different occasions, but Lee clawed his way back to all-square with a birdie on No. 12. Following a bogey on No. 16, Schwartzel made par on No. 17 to regain the lead before closing Lee out on the last.
Said Schwartzel: « Danny made a really good comeback, made a few birdies on the back nine. Then it felt like we both started playing a little scrappy and were just really hanging in there by the skin of our teeth. I’m just happy that I hit some good shots coming in. »
Group records: Snedeker 1-0, Schwartzel 1-0, Hoffman 0-1, Lee 0-1
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN, S. Africa def. MATT JONES, Australia, 2 and 1
An adjustment to his ball flight proved to be the difference for Oosthuizen. Down early in the match and with the winds swirling, the South African started hitting punch shots to keep his ball under the gusts. The slight alteration made a difference. He went on to birdie Nos. 5 and 7 while adding three more over his last six holes to secure the win.
Said Oosthuizen: « The front nine, (the wind) was to me all over the place. I started, midway through the front nine, started hitting really low shots just to take out the wind completely. Obviously when you get down to the 12th, you can see easily where the wind is. »
ANDY SULLIVAN, England def. BERND WIESBERGER, Austria, 3 and 2
Sullivan never trailed after winning the second hole with a par. By the time he birdied the eighth from off the green 46 feet away, Sullivan was 4 up. Another birdie at the 10th put him 5 up. He then lost three straight holes – including at the par-5 12th when his birdie lost to Wiesberger’s eagle. But with the momentum now in his favor, Wiesberger bogeyed the 14th.
Group records: Oosthuizen 1-0, Sullivan 1-0, Jones 0-1, Weisberger 0-1