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Scheffler mows down European stalwarts in Match Play

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Scottie Scheffler by no means will get too far forward of himself, a outstanding trait for a 24-year-old in solely his second yr on the PGA Tour and significantly useful in an emotionally charged format just like the Dell Technologies Match Play.

Still, he was not oblivious to what he confronted Saturday in opposition to Ryder Cup stalwart Ian Poulter in the fourth spherical after which Spanish dynamo and world No. 3 Jon Rahm in the quarterfinals.

Scheffler mowed down each of them with a few of his greatest golf, making 15 birdies in 31 holes — a 5-and-4 victory over Poulter and a 3-and-1 win over Rahm — to achieve the semifinals.

“I was excited to play these guys today,” Scheffler mentioned. “I’ve watched Ian way too many times on TV just beat the crap out of us in the Ryder Cup. I just have memories of me and my dad sitting on the couch and watching this guy make putt after putt. So it was nice to get one on him, at least for me.”

The victory over Rahm despatched Scheffler, a Texas graduate and now the group favourite at Austin Country Club, into the semifinals in opposition to Matt Kuchar, who beat Jordan Spieth in the morning and Brian Harman in the afternoon.

Billy Horschel made it three Americans in the semifinals for the second time in the final three journeys to Austin. He by no means led in opposition to Tommy Fleetwood till the Englishman despatched his tee shot out-of-bounds on their first further gap on the par-5 twelfth. Horschel will face Victor Perez of France, who beat Sergio Garcia in 15 holes.

Scheffler retains saying he’s trending in the precise path. He has gone 41 holes with out making a bogey. And he introduced his greatest golf in opposition to two of Europe’s greatest in this format.

“It doesn’t matter who I’m playing. I’m treating each match the same,” he mentioned. “But I think sometimes you’ve got to bring a little different attitude, and I knew I had to bring my best stuff today, not really giving either of those guys much breathing room. I did my best to do that.”

Kuchar is the one participant to win each match this week, and people 5 victories give him 33 in this match, second solely to the 36 matches gained by Tiger Woods.

He gained the Match Play in 2013 and misplaced in the championship match final time to Kevin Kisner. It’s a giant turnaround for the 41-year-old with the graying goatee. He had gone greater than a yr since his final prime 10, fell out of he prime 50 for the primary time in greater than a decade and now feels rejuvenated after a 1-up win over Spieth and a 2-and-1 win over Harman.

“I can’t tell you how good I feel right now,” Kuchar mentioned. “I feel like I’m still floating.”

Scheffler was so sturdy in the morning that Poulter by no means gained a gap because the Texan made seven birdies in 14 holes. Poulter holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the eleventh gap and seemed to chop the deficit to 2 down, just for Scheffler to gap a chip from behind the inexperienced.

“You could tell by the look in his eye that he wasn’t giving in at all. He was just waiting for a spark,” Scheffler mentioned. “Another great putt on 11 and I kind of stole one again and really just kept the momentum on my side.”

In the quarterfinal match, Rahm fell 3 down when his method to the par-5 twelfth discovered the water. As regular, the Spaniard mounted a cost. Rahm ran off 4 straight birdies — and he solely picked up one gap.

Scheffler matched him on the thirteenth and made a 10-foot birdie after Rahm chipped in on the 14th.

“That was a big one,” Scheffler said. “I was standing there greenside and that was kind of the moment. It was kind of his do-or-die moment for the round, and I had a feeling he was going to hit a really good shot and it happened to go in. And I knew I had to roll that one in to keep things in check.”

Fleetwood had gone 67 straight holes — beginning with the seventeenth gap Wednesday — in which he by no means trailed. But after he missed a 12-foot birdie putt for the win on the 18th gap, they headed to the par-5 twelfth. Fleetwood went out-of-bounds, and one of the best he might handle was a bogey.

That virtually was sufficient.

Horschel went extremely conservative with Fleetwood out-of-bounds. He laid up in need of the water, hit a wedge 30 toes by the outlet, left his birdie putt 5 toes quick. He needed to make that testy putt for the win.

Horschel had by no means made it to the weekend at Match Play in his 4 earlier appearances. Now he faces Perez, the one participant who hasn’t reached the 18th gap in any of his matches, 4 wins and a loss in group play.

Kuchar was lucky to make it by means of the morning. Spieth by no means trailed and wasted an opportunity to go 1 up on the par-5 sixteenth gap. Kuchar was in grass so thick proper of the golf green that he requested the marshal to let followers beneath the rope to assist him discover his ball. Then, he was given aid from a scoreboard in his line of the flag.

He scrambled for par, and Spieth missed a 6-foot birdie putt. Kuchar gained on the 18th gap in what amounted to a chipping contest. Spieth went 30 toes lengthy, Kuchar was 6 toes quick, and Kuchar gained with a birdie.

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