Here are the recaps for every match from the Round of 16 at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club:
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Bubba Watson def. Brian Harman, 2 and 1
Watson takes down the Rory Slayer. A day after Harman posted a 5-and-3 win over Rory McIlroy to advance to the Round of 16, he was eliminated. Watson won the first hole, but Harman squared it at the next and took a 1-up lead with a birdie at the fifth. But Watson birdied Nos. 8 and 9 to move 1 up. A win at the 11th moved him 2 up, and an eagle at the 12th put him 3 up. Harman fought back with a win at the 13th, but four halves from there secured Watson a 2-and-1 win and a spot in the quarters.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat def. Charles Howell III, 1 up
This was a turnaround late. Aphibarnrat never led this match until the end, but that’s all that matters on the leaderboard. Howell won the first hole but Aphibarnrat squared the match at No. 3. Howell won Nos. 5 and 9 to go out in a 2-up cushion. Back-to-back birdies from Aphibarnrat at Nos. 12 and 13 squared the match, before Howell birdied the 14th to take back a 1-up lead. Aphibarnrat actually had an 8-footer for par at the 16th, and Howell a 5-footer for birdie. It appeared this match would be dormie-2. But the Thai player drained his putt, and Howell missed his, keeping Howell’s margin at 1 up. That huge turn would be crucial. Aphibarnrat rolled in a 9-footer for birdie to win the 17th and buried an 8-footer for birdie at the last to win the hole and the match, 1 up. It’s a gutsy late performance from Aphibarnrat to reach the quarters.
Kyle Stanley def. Sergio Garcia, 3 and 1
Stanley needed a playoff to reach the Round of 16, but he didn’t seem to be bothered by that. Garcia won the first hole, but Stanley took control after birdieing the third to square the match. Stanley proceeded to win Nos. 5, 8 and 9 to move 3 up. Garcia won Nos. 10 and 12 to move 1 down. After Stanley won No. 14 and Garcia captured the 15th, it still stood at 1 up. But Stanley would birdie Nos. 16 and 17 to win those holes and the match, and move on to the quarters.
Justin Thomas def. Si Woo Kim, 6 and 5
JT keeps on rolling. A day after a 7-and-5 shellacking to advance to the Round of 16, Thomas demolished Kim. It started early, as Thomas won the second and third holes to quickly move 2 up. Wins at Nos. 7-9 really put him in the driver’s seat, though, as he pushed to 5 up through nine. Even when Kim birdied No. 11, Thomas matched to stay 5 up. A birdie at the 12th won Thomas the hole and pushed him dormie-6. A halve at the 13th secured Thomas a 6-and-5 win. Thomas is now onto the quarterfinals. A reminder: If he wins this event, Thomas moves to No. 1 in the world.
Cameron Smith def. Tyrrell Hatton, 2 and 1
This was a high-performance match for sure. Hatton opened birdie-birdie to take a 2-up lead, but Smith birdied Nos. 3 and 4 to quickly move the match back to all square. And then the pair decided to halve the fifth in birdies. It took until the sixth hole, humorously a par 5, for there not to be a birdie from one of the two parties. And then Smith promptly birdied the seventh to move 1 up. Overall, he had five on the front nine, and was just 1 up. His sixth birdie of the round at No. 12 moved him 2 up, and Smith was 3 up after a par at 13. Hatton’s birdie at 15 moved him 2 down, and he birdied 16, too. But Smith also birdied 16 to keep himself 2 up. Hatton birdied 17 as well, but Smith rolled in his birdie putt right on top of him for his eighth of the match and to seal the win. What a performance, and Smith is moving on.
Alex Noren def. Patrick Reed, 5 and 3
What an impressive performance from Noren. Reed, a match-play master, won the first hole and you figured he might cruise – especially after defeating Jordan Spieth a day earlier. But Noren wasn’t fazed. He won Nos. 4 and 5 with birdies to take a 1-up lead. He was 3 up by the end of the front nine. A birdie at the 11th moved him 4 up and he sealed the match with a birdie to win the 15th. Noren is now 4-0 this week and looks unstoppable heading into the quarters. We’ll see what the Swede has.
Ian Poulter def. Louis Oosthuizen, 2 and 1
Ian Poulter, the match play ninja is BACK. The Englishman who famously saved the 2012 Ryder Cup for Europe and has long been a Ryder Cup standout is onto the quarterfinals at this event. He’s a past winner of this tournament (2010), so his match-play skills travel. Anyway, Poulter took it to Oosthuizen early, birdieing the second to move 1 up and doubling that margin when he drained a 37-footer for birdie from the off the green at the fourth. Poulter was 3 up through seven (after another birdie) and his lead was never lower than 2 up the rest of the way. He closed out with a par on 17. Poulter needs a high finish this week to get into the top 50 in the OWGR and earn a Masters invite. He even brought back the putter he used during the 2012 Ryder Cup this week to help him. It seems Poulter may need to make the semifinals to get that Masters berth. Whatever the case, he’s onto the quarters.
Kevin Kisner def. Matt Kuchar, 1 up
Kisner just holds on. He came out hot with a birdie to win the opening hole, but Kuchar then squared it with a win at the second. Wins by Kisner at Nos. 3 and 4 but one by Kuchar at No. 5 put Kisner 1 up heading to the par-5 sixth. The match chilled out for a while after that, with Nos. 6-13 halved. Kisner then birdied No. 14 to move 2 up. And the match heated back up again. Kuchar won Nos. 15 and 17 to square the match. But Kisner prevailed. He rolled in a 10-footer for birdie to win the 18th and the match. He’s the last man into the quarterfinals.