AUSTIN, Texas – Professional golf doesn’t have a Selection Sunday however once in a while when the seedings align and the maths makes approach for the magicians, you get a Frantic Friday.
It’s the sort of day that makes you admire match play and neglect, at least for an additional 12 months, the continuing knockout vs. pool play debate. A day like Friday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play when the cheers – that’s proper, cheers at Austin Country Club – got here at you with dizzying velocity.
The day began customary sufficient. Dylan Frittelli, a geography main from Austin through South Africa, was the primary to punch his ticket to the weekend simply previous lunch and have become the primary Sixty fourth-seeded participant to advance to the knockout rounds because the transition to pool play in 2015. He was nonetheless on the course and trailing Will Zalatoris at the time, however the math was on his aspect after Tony Finau closed out Jason Kokrak to finish his pod drama.
“My caddie mentioned to me on 16 green that we were going down 18 and Tony was 1 up so that secured it for me, so I had breathing room walking that hill to 17 tee box,” Frittelli mentioned.
Tommy Fleetwood was subsequent, holding off Bryson DeChambeau in what might be a Ryder Cup prelude. The solely factor that was lacking was Francesco Molinari, Fleetwood’s accomplice two years in the past in Paris, and the Continent’s plenty singing, “Tommy, Tommy, Tommy.”
But because the weekend bracket slowly emerged from the fog of pool play, there have been two moments in fast order that remodeled an entertaining day right into a frenzy.
Standing on the 18th tee trailing Adam Long by a single gap, Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre hit “one of the best and one of the luckiest golf shots I’ve hit in my life.”
From 371 yards, MacIntyre’s tee shot raced up the hill to inside 3 toes of the outlet simply as Dustin Johnson, taking part in within the group forward, was lining up his putt. The shot arrange a walk-off eagle for a halve and a spot within the weekend subject.
“I had to get it flighted, but my miss with that flighted shot is in the hazard left,” MacIntyre mentioned. “But I was 1 down, I had to win the hole, so I thought, here we go. Let’s get the low one going.”
The cheers have been nonetheless echoing throughout Austin CC when Sergio Garcia put his stamp on the day’s theatrics. Having misplaced to Matt Wallace, 3 and a pair of, in Round 3, the Spaniard traded three pars with Lee Westwood to find out who from their group superior to the one-and-done levels when he stepped to the fourth tee.
“I really don’t know what to say. Obviously, yeah, a hole-in-one is amazing,” Garcia mentioned of his walk-off ace from 160 yards to advance.
In all, a report eight playoffs have been wanted to fill out the Sweet 16 bracket.
Ian Poulter went 3-0-0 to advance as a result of he’s Ian Poulter and, as a result of of final 12 months’s pandemic, no matter moon cycle transforms him right into a superhero throughout Ryder Cup years travelled to 2021.
“Well, mine was obviously extremely boring according to what I’ve just heard. Sergio holing out for a hole-in-one against Westy to advance and MacIntyre just drives it to 3 feet and nudges in for eagle for half to go through,” Poulter laughed. “I just managed a 2-and-1 victory [over Lanto Griffin] and I’m through, so I guess it was quite lame.”
Lame. Looming. Whatever. When it involves the Englishman and match play, he usually saves his heroics till the very finish, like on Sunday with a title or the Ryder Cup on the road.
Matt Kuchar joined Poulter as the one gamers to submit good pool-play information along with his 2-and-1 victory over Kevin Kisner for a measure of redemption after Kisner beat him within the last of the final WGC-Match Play, held in 2019.
They weren’t all theatrical winners. The Jon Rahm-Ryan Palmer matinee, one of simply two bouts on Day 3 between gamers who had received their first two matches, included a gap halved with double bogey (No. 14) and required additional holes for Rahm to advance.
There’s additionally the problem of an completely upside-down bracket. Just a single participant from the highest 20 (Rahm) superior to the weekend, an exodus that included world No. 1 Johnson. But even that loss got here with a measure leisure when Kevin Na – who defeated Johnson, 1 up – lectured DJ on the 11th inexperienced about conceded putts and an early scoop (all of us have a buddy who’s responsible of the early scoop) and, as anticipated, Johnson didn’t reply effectively to being lectured.
“His [putt] lipped out and he had 6 inches and obviously it’s good, but I hadn’t said anything and he whacked it,” Na defined when requested about what occurred on the 11th inexperienced. “I froze there and looked at [caddie Kenny Harms] and I wasn’t going to say that’s a penalty, you’re going to lose the hole. I was going to say, you know what, that was good anyway.”
Also gone for the weekend would be the second-seed Justin Thomas, fourth-seed Collin Morikawa, fifth-seed DeChambeau and sixth-seed Xander Schauffele.
If this have been the NCAA Tournament, they could cancel the rest of the competitors. But in golf the motion supplies the leisure, not the seedings. If you didn’t take pleasure in Frantic Friday at Austin Country Club you don’t take pleasure in match play golf.