Not surprisingly, the three former Longhorns competing at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play felt proper at residence within the first spherical of play.
Former Texas stars Jordan Spieth, Dylan Frittelli and Scottie Scheffler all received their opening match at Austin Country Club on Wednesday. The victories set them up for a robust run at this weekend’s elimination rounds, and so they additionally served as some welcomed residence cooking on a course nearly an extended drive from the Longhorns’ residence course in Steiner Ranch.
A 2 up victory over Jason Day was particularly gratifying for Scheffler, who’s in his third 12 months as a professional and missed debuting at Dell Match Play final 12 months when the coronavirus pandemic canceled the occasion.
“I was obviously very bummed last year,” mentioned Scheffler, the No. 30 seed in a bunch that additionally contains No. 44 Day, No. 57 Andy Sullivan and group favourite and sixth-seeded Xander Schauffele. “I was really looking forward to coming out here and playing in front of all the fans.
“So this year to at least have a few people out here is great, and it’s nice that things are starting to get back to normal.”
Match Play: Photos
There was one thing very regular about Scheffler’s clutch play on the ultimate few holes in opposition to the veteran Day, a former top-ranked participant on the PGA Tour. Scheffler received three state titles throughout his prep profession at Highland Park High School in Dallas, and he helped Texas win three Big 12 Conference titles from 2015-18. The expertise in match play gained at Texas helped him draw back from Day after the 2 entered the seventeenth gap tied, he mentioned.
“(I) haven’t played match play in a while,” he mentioned. “In college, it was always nice getting that experience. And as far as nerves go, I would probably say I was more nervous in college coming out and playing match play with four guys depending on me.”
So donning the burnt orange and making an attempt to gentle the Tower brought on extra butterflies than enjoying for a potential $1.82 million?
“Well, I mean, yeah, I guess,” mentioned Scheffler, who helped the 2016 Texas group end second at the NCAA nationwide match. “National championship on the line. Sure.”
Spieth and Frittelli know one thing about nationwide championships, main Texas to its third and most up-to-date title in 2012. Frittelli, a senior on that squad, had the profitable putt in opposition to a gifted Alabama group led by Justin Thomas. The South African native, who now lives about quarter-hour away from Austin Country Club, additionally remembered that ACC wasn’t too eager on Frittelli and his Longhorn teammates teeing off on its course — at least till Texas started to vault up the nationwide rankings.
Dylan Frittelli strains up a putt on the 14th inexperienced throughout the third spherical of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 13, 2021 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
“The first few years I didn’t play (ACC) too much,” he mentioned. “We were probably the 20th- or 30th-ranked team in the country, and I guess the members didn’t really think fondly of us, but then as we moved up the rankings, my senior year, we were ranked No. 1 and seemed to get a lot more invitations.”
Frittelli can nonetheless relate to that lack of respect; he entered the match seeded because the sixty fourth and closing participant however topped No. 12 Tony Finau 6 and 5 Wednesday.
“If you had checked the betting odds, if those guys were doing their homework, I would figure they would put me in the top half, just having that sort of experience, home town, sleeping in my own bed,” he mentioned. “I think that counts a lot. I’m not going to spout too much, but I definitely think it’s a huge advantage that at least puts me in the top half of the field.”
And his means to make the most of all of the tips of a hometown driver also needs to depend for one thing, Frittelli mentioned.
“It’s just nice to have those routines with falling out of bed, riding in the car,” he mentioned. “It’s perfect. I can cut in and out of traffic and get to the course really quickly because I know the roads. It just feels really familiar right now.”
Spieth, seeded No. 49 in a difficult group, additionally regarded lots snug within the opening spherical. He cruised previous former U.S. Amateur champion and Fifteenth-seeded Matt Fitzpatrick 3 and 1 whereas flashing a gentle putter, which he’ll want in opposition to No. 20 Matthew Wolff and No. 37 Corey Conners later within the week.
“I found myself having more putts to win the hole than Matt did, and what a tough opponent he is in match play, somebody who’s been playing some really good golf,” Spieth mentioned. “So (a) big match to get kind of a victory early on, still in control of my own destiny.”
Spieth, who received three state championships throughout his highschool days at Dallas Jesuit High School, presently resides in his hometown. That leaves Frittelli because the host if he will get an opportunity to have dinner together with his former collegiate teammate.
Frittelli says he’d make the drive right down to Driftwood and deal with Spieth to The Salt Lick BBQ, Frittelli’s most well-liked barbecue in his adopted hometown that takes smoked meat as severe as its match play.
“Ribs, brisket, burnt ends, the whole deal,” Frittelli mentioned.