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Thriller between Jordan Spieth, Matthew Wolff sets up compelling Friday at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

AUSTIN, Texas — Jordan Spieth’s Thursday match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play started with a forgettable tee shot and a fast glare at a photographer.

But it ended with a transparent path to the spherical of 16 at the Austin Country Club occasion. Spieth, who helped the Texas males’s golf staff win the 2012 NCAA Championship earlier than turning professional, tied former Oklahoma State star, and nonetheless NCAA defending champion, Matthew Wolff in a wildly entertaining second-round matchup.

Spieth, the bottom seeded participant within the group at No. 49, will enter his closing pool-play match on Friday with a win and a tie, the identical as Wolff. Although Spieth gave up two strokes over the past two holes to forestall the win, he is aware of a victory Friday over Canadian Corey Conners will give him at least an opportunity in a playoff and a possibility to achieve the elimination spherical for the primary time since 2016 and simply the second time in his final 5 appearances.

WGC-Match Play: Photos

The spirited duel appeared to rev up the group too — a welcome sight for Wolff, even when the gallery gave most of its help to the previous Longhorn.

“With all the crowds, that was really awesome to see,” the 21-year-old Wolff mentioned. “I mean, I don’t know if anyone has, but I definitely haven’t experienced crowds like that since COVID, or as long as I can remember. So it was really awesome to see everyone out here.

“Obviously, Jordan was the favorite, but I got a lot of applause when I made putts, and they were very gracious. I thought being out here with the crowd, there were no problems at all, and I was really happy to see that.”

That opening gap produced moments each head-scratching and heart-pounding and set the tone for the thrilling match. Spieth’s first swing of the day sailed excessive and wobbled by way of the air with uncertainty, a pull-hook off the tee that traveled fewer than 200 yards and left him greater than 200 yards from the inexperienced and in a jail of stay oaks. To make issues worse, Spieth’s focus appeared questionable after he shot a glance at a photographer and his whirring digital camera.

Any anxiousness about that first swing disappeared with Spieth’s subsequent shot, a punch-out over a bunker that skipped and hopped up the green onto the inexperienced and settled simply 11 toes from the outlet.

Spieth couldn’t sink the lengthy birdie putt however did save par, one thing he did 10 extra instances with two birdies earlier than Wolff stormed again from 2 down on the ultimate two holes to salvage the tie.

“Nothing against Jordan, but I’m sure he’s thinking he gave me that match, and he might have, but at the end of the day I got it up-and-down on 15 for par (and) then birdied 16,” Wolff mentioned. “I’m sure he still thinks that he gave it to me, and we have different mindsets because we’re different people, but felt like I did what I could to put that pressure on him and try to get that tie.”

And simply possibly set up a Friday playoff.

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