The Latest: Playoffs are all the rage at Match Play
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Latest on the Dell Technologies Match Play (all times local):
The Dell Technologies Match Play already has a No. 64 seed in the weekend for the first time. Now another record has fallen in a big way.
Eight groups are being decided by playoffs, with the possibility for a ninth. The previous record since group play began six years ago was five playoffs in 2017.
The extra holes include Jon Rahm, the No. 3 seed. He looked like a sure winner with a 1-up lead over Ryan Palmer on the 18th and a 7-foot birdie putt in front of him. Palmer made his 15-footer for birdie, Rahm missed and they were off to the first tee. Rahm put him away on the second extra hole.
Erik van Rooyen beat Daniel Berger on the second extra hole. Scottie Scheffler beat Xander Schauffele on the second hole.
Still to come was Patrick Cantlay and Brian Harman, while Bubba Watson and Joaquin Niemann were headed to the second extra hole.
Meanwhile, Matt Kuchar had a commanding lead on Kevin Kisner, and Jordan Spieth advanced by beating Corey Conners.
Kevin Na lectured Dustin Johnson and then sent him home from the Dell Technologies Match Play.
Na won the last two holes with birdies, from 20 feet on the 17th and with a wedge to 4 feet on the 18th hole. That gave him a 1-up victory over the No. 1 player in the world. Johnson won the Match Play in 2017. He has failed to get out of group play the last three times.
The match got testy on the 11th hole when Johnson’s 8-foot birdie putt lipped out. He picked it up from inches away and Na stopped him to say Johnson has to wait for the putt to be conceded. Na won the next hole to square the match and it was tight the rest of the way until Na’s big finish.
Johnson only needed to halve the last hole to assure at least a sudden-death playoff. Instead, the winner was Bob MacIntyre with the shot of the tournament. He hit driver on the 18th hole that rolled to within 3 feet of the cup as Johnson was lining up his par putt in the group ahead.
MacIntyre’s eagle gave him a halve, and that was all he needed to win the group after Johnson’s loss.
At least two groups will require a sudden-death playoff to determine a winner, but only after an hour break.
Abraham Ancer and Kevin Streelman will square off in Group 13. Ancer lost his first match of the week against Viktor Hovland. Streelman joined him at 2-1-0 by beating Bernd Wiesberger. Ancer beat Streelman earlier in the week, but head-to-head matches are not used as a tiebreaker.
Max Homa beat J.T. Poston, setting up a playoff in Group 4 against Billy Horschel. Both went 2-1-0. Horschel had no trouble beating PGA champion Collin Morikawa.
The players will have to wait until the last match begins before the sudden-death playoff can start on the first hole.
Tommy Fleetwood has made it to the weekend of the Dell Technologies Match Play thanks to two great escapes on the same hole to beat Bryson DeChambeau.
Fleetwood was 1 up going to the 18th when he mysteriously opted to hit driver and went left into a drainage ditch in a hazard. DeChambeau drove just short of the green. Instead of taking a penalty drop, Fleetwood hacked out of the ditch well right of the green, some 80 feet away. From there, he had no angle to the flag. But he hit a perfect flop shot to 5 feet.
DeChambeau missed his 10-foot birdie putt. Fleetwood made his par. “An unlikely par,” he said with a smile.
Fleetwood reaches the weekend knockout stage for the second time. He will face Dylan Frittelli, who became the first No. 64 seed to advance since the Match Play switched to group play in 2015.
Dylan Frittelli is the first player to win his group and advance to the weekend knockout stage in the Dell Technologies Match Play. Jason Kokrak needed to win his match against Tony Finau to have any chance in Group 12, but he fell 2 down with two holes to play and was mathematically eliminated.
Frittelli won the clinching match for Texas when the Longhorns won the NCAA title in 2012 at Riviera. The South African now makes his home in Austin and probably knows Austin Country Club as well as anyone in the field.
In other early matches, Tommy Fleetwood was 2 up on Bryson DeChambeau. Fleetwood needed only to win to advance from Group 5. DeChambeau had to win and Antoine Rozner had to lose his match. Rozner was 2 up with four to play.