The Latest: Watson eliminates Spieth, Na advances with win
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Latest on the Dell Technologies Match Play (all times local):
Jordan Spieth lost the first four holes and never quite recovered.
Bubba Watson, the only player in Group 15 with nothing to gain, held on for a 1-up victory that eliminated Spieth from the Match Play. Right behind them, Kevin Na took control late and knocked out Billy Horschel.
Spieth and Horschel needed to win or halve their matches to go to a sudden-death playoff. Instead, both lost, and Na is the one who heads into the weekend knockout stage.
Spieth has only made it out of group play once since the Match Play has been at Austin Country Club. That was in 2016, the first year.
With only one match still on the course, Justin Rose was 1 up over Gary Woodland to decide who advances. If Rose wins, Europe will have a record eight players in the Round of 16.
Kevin Kisner lost in 18 holes to Ian Poulter on Wednesday. He beat him three holes on Friday, which turned out to be more important.
Kisner and Poulter each finished 2-1-0 in Group 14 and faced a sudden-death playoff. After both made par on the opening two holes, Kisner made an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-4 third hole to advance to the knockout stage at the Match Play.
It’s the second straight year Kisner has reached the weekend.
Right when it finished, another playoff was just starting.
Li Haotong only needed to tie his match with Tom Lewis to advance in Group 3. Li missed a 6-foot putt and lost the match, and now faces Alex Noren in a playoff to advance.
Ian Poulter and Kevin Kisner now go to the rubber match — the shortest one yet.
Kisner defeated Keith Mitchell, while Poulter knocked off Tony Finau with a par on the final hole. Kisner and Poulter finished their group with 2-1 records, sending them to a sudden-death playoff to see who advances to the weekend in the Match Play.
Poulter already beat Kisner in the opening round Wednesday, but head-to-head matches do not apply.
A year ago, Kisner demolished Poulter in the quarterfinals, 8 and 6.
In other matches, Alex Noren beat Brooks Koepka, and now the Swede can only hope Li Haotong loses his match to force a playoff. Paul Casey won his group, giving Europe at least six players in the Round of 16.
The last three Match Play champions have all been eliminated before the weekend.
Top-seed Dustin Johnson was the only one still in contention to reach the knockout rounds until he was eliminated Friday by Hideki Matsuyama 4-and-2.
Last year’s champion Bubba Watson was eliminated Thursday and so was 2016 champion Jason Day.
Johnson won the tournament in 2017 and but has failed to get out of the round-robin matches the last two years. His tournament started with an easy win over Chez Reavie before losses to Branden Grace and Matsuyama.
Johnson’s loss sends Grace into the round of 16 on Saturday where he’ll play Sergio Garcia. The most recent tournament champion to advance to Saturday’s knockout rounds is 2015 winner Rory McIlroy.
An early exit can be a good thing for Phil Mickelson.
Getting bounced from the Dell Technologies Match Play means an early start preparing for The Masters in two weeks. Mickelson says he’s heading straight to Augusta, Georgia, after getting eliminated in the round-robin stage and not playing on the weekend for the third time in four years.
The three-time Masters winner will spend the next three or four days in Augusta and says he’s looking forward to the chance to work on his game.
The 48-year-old Mickelson lost his first two rounds of match play but came back Friday to beat Jason Day 2-up in his final round. Mickelson was 4-up after eight holes before Day rallied. Mickelson won the match by winning two of the final three holes.
Rory McIlroy is undefeated in round-robin pool play and is going on to the round of 16.
Tiger Woods awaits.
McIlroy and Woods will meet Saturday in the first round of elimination play. McIlroy closed out Matthew Fitzpatrick 4-and-2 in his last group match on Friday shortly after Woods beat Patrick Cantlay 4-and-2. Woods had to win to have a chance to move on in his first Match Play since 2013.
McIlroy is the No. 4 seed and Woods is No. 13 in the 64-player field. No. 1 Dustin Johnson faces Hideki Matsuyama in his final group match.
Tiger Woods is advancing to the round of 16 with his win over Patrick Cantlay and Brandt Snedeker’s loss to Aaron Wise.
Woods seized control of his match with and eagle from 82 yards out on the par-4 13th, a hole where he hit into the water a day earlier.
Woods is the No. 13 seed and needed to win to have any chance of advancing to the weekend elimination rounds. His 4-and-2 victory and Snedeker’s 6-and-4 loss to Wise loss allowed Woods to win his group.
Henrik Stinson was the first player in the 64-player field to advance to the weekend when he beat Jim Furyk 5-and-4.