US seeds Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas and four-time main winner Rory McIlroy have been among the many upset losers in Wednesday’s opening group matches at the WGC Match Play Championship.
English sixtieth seed Ian Poulter, a WGC Match Play and World Match Play winner in addition to a Ryder Cup stalwart, gained the ultimate 5 holes for a 6&5 rout of eleventh seed McIlroy within the 64-player showdown at Austin (Texas) Country Club.
French 58th seed Antoine Rozner, who gained at Qatar two weeks in the past on a 60-foot putt at the 72nd gap, downed fifth-seeded DeChambeau 2-up because of a birdie at 18 whereas 52nd-seeded Matt Kuchar beat second-seeded countryman Thomas 3&2.
Unlike a traditional match-play occasion, first-day losers nonetheless have an opportunity to advance from a bunch stage into weekend knockout matches.
Poulter gained his thirtieth match in 15 appearances with birdies at the par-4 ninth and par-3 eleventh and an eagle at the par-5 twelfth earlier than closing out McIlroy with a par at 13, his all-or-nothing perspective dominating.
“It gets the adrenaline going, the ticker starts going. You got to pony up and hit shots,” stated Poulter, whose lead fell to 1-up after McIlroy birdied six and eight.
McIlroy, who has began working with swing coach Pete Cowan, suffered his worst Match-Play defeat in a decade — since an 8&7 loss to ben Crane in 2011 — and hooked his tee shot at the par-4 fifth out of bounds left into the swimming pool of a close-by house.
“There’s a couple of areas of his game which I’m sure he wants to firm up a little bit,” Poulter stated. “He missed a couple of tee shots left. But it’s Rory, it doesn’t take a lot for Rory to spark up pretty quickly.”
Rozner birdied the ninth to go 2-up on reigning US Open champion DeChambeau. The big-hitting American birdied the par-5 sixteenth and compelled an 18th gap, the place the Frenchman landed his method inside eight ft from the cup and made the putt for the win.
“I was just trying to play a good round of solid golf, not give any shot away,” Rozner stated. “It’s the strongest field I’ve ever played in in my life and I played good golf out there.”
Kuchar birdied 4 of the final 5 holes on the entrance 9 for a 5-up edge and parred his solution to victory from there.
Spanish third seed Jon Rahm edged Colombian Sebastian Munoz 1 up, sinking a birdie putt from eight ft at 18 after the South American sank one thrice as lengthy.
Of the highest eight seeds, 4 halved and two misplaced, the winners being Rahm and world primary Dustin Johnson, who beat 61st-seeded US compatriot Adam Long 2 up.
Reigning Masters champion Johnson birdied the par-4 third and parred the par-4 fifth to guide 2 up. Long pulled stage with 5 to play however Johnson sank a 25-foot birdie putt at 15 and one from simply outdoors 4 ft at 18 to win.
– ‘Huge’ win by Frittelli –
South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli, the sixty fourth and final seed who lives solely quarter-hour from the course, ripped US twelfth seed Tony Finau 6&5. Frittelli was 4-up after six and did not lose a gap.
“It’s huge,” Frittelli stated. “I’ve told a lot of people if I can get through Tony with a win, I think I’m definitely the favorite in the group.”
US 63rd seed J.T. Poston halved with US fourth seed Collin Morikawa.
Spain’s Sergio Garcia jumped atop group eight with a 4&3 win over England’s Lee Westwood after England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Wallace halved.
“I feel like I can be quite aggressive,” Garcia stated. “If we have a mess up we can move on and can try to get it back.”