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To the Victor, the spoils as Perez a surprise semifinalist at WGC-Match Play

AUSTIN, Texas – Antoine Rozner had simply surprised world No. 5 Bryson DeChambeau on Day 1 at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and was talking with the media when fellow Frenchman Victor Perez walked by on his solution to the 10th tee.

Perez was tied in his match towards Marc Leishman however he paused on his solution to the tee field together with his fists in the air and a grunt to have fun his countryman’s victory. It might need simply been one match however for these two, a victory on a world stage was price celebrating.

Rozner wasn’t round Austin Country Club Saturday to return the admiration after Perez accomplished his marathon day, however someplace he was possible celebrating.

In what he known as his greatest spherical of the week, Perez steamrolled Robert MacIntyre in the morning session, 5 and 4, and put stress on Sergio Garcia from the opening gap in the quarterfinals on his solution to a 4-and-3 victory and a spot in Sunday’s Final Four.

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker could not know a lot about Victor Perez however he is aware of his type.

Born in Hautes-Pyrénées, France, developed in the American faculty system at the University of New Mexico and plucked from the depths of the European Tour expertise pool, Perez has emerged as this week’s outlier following 4 days of impressively environment friendly golf.

He’s been a top-50 participant for over a yr – a winner at the 2019 Alfred Dunhill Links – however till his tie for ninth place at The Players Championship earlier this month he was one thing of an unknown commodity to U.S. followers. However, the 28-year-old isn’t the first Frenchman to make his mark on the WGC-Match Play.

Back in 2014, Victor Dubuisson took eventual champion Jason Day to 23 holes in the closing match, brilliantly scrambling from each nook of the Arizona desert alongside the approach. Perez was a junior at New Mexico.

“It gave us the belief in France that it was possible,” Perez recalled. “I think he got all the way to the top 15 in the world and played in the Ryder Cup and obviously did great things in the Match Play and bigger tournaments. It gave us the belief that it was possible back then.”

It’s that hope that can make the 6-foot-6 Perez a wildcard at this yr’s Ryder Cup, like so many underestimated Europeans earlier than him, and why Stricker possible spent Saturday taking discover.

“I’ve been into golf obviously from a young age and been watching those tournaments and the Ryder Cup is something that Europeans take a lot of pride in and obviously you want to try to be a part of it,” stated Perez, who was at Le Golf National in 2018 as a spectator and celebrated the European victory. “It [2018 matches] was a perfect finish for the Europeans, winning the Ryder Cup there, it was just great energy.”

He’ll face Billy Horschel in Sunday’s semifinal whereas will probably be Scottie Scheffler, who had himself a day defeating Ian Poulter in the morning and Jon Rahm in the twilight match, and Matt Kuchar rounding out the semis.

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play recaps: Quarterfinals at Austin CC

Perhaps 5 rounds in 4 days took a toll or possibly Austin Country Club merely confirmed some tooth with a freshening wind. Either approach, the fireworks that highlighted Friday’s knockout finale and Saturday’s Sweet 16 gave solution to some clunky golf as the day’s closing matches reached the again 9.

After placing on a ball-striking show for 3 days, Garcia appeared human with a second shot at the par-5 sixth that bounded out-of-bounds. At the par-4 13th gap, which he had dismantled this week, the Spaniard drove into a water hazard and Perez admitted that neither participant had their greatest stuff.

“I think we were both pretty gassed, it showed,” Perez stated. “I don’t think it was the prettiest golf. I think it was about hitting as many greens as possible, giving myself opportunities and really not giving any holes away.”

On this entrance, Perez gave the impression to be a fast learner. Other than his Round 2 loss to Russell Henley in pool play he’s been largely unchallenged, trailing in simply 4 holes in his different 4 matches, and he conceded that not having performed the WGC-Match Play earlier than allowed him to desert any expectations. Even coming into Saturday’s two-match marathon he had no concept how exhausting match play may be each bodily and mentally.

“I think it’s the benefit of not knowing, sometimes ignorance is a good thing in golf, not really knowing what’s coming, not knowing the 36-hole day, you come out and try to play your best,” he stated.

C’est la vie.

Sunday might be a new expertise for Perez. Another probability to study and, if he continues to carry out the approach he has for 4 days, one other probability to have fun.

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