Tommy Fleetwood and Sergio Garcia each crashed out on the quarter-final stage of the WGC Match Play because the Americans re-emphasised their spectacular depth forward of this yr’s Ryder Cup. But the European pair left Texas claiming a unique place in golfing folklore.
Has a gap ever earlier than witnessed back-to-back aces in skilled competitors? That was the query the statisticians have been scrambling to reply as Fleetwood emulated Garcia’s hole-in-one on the fourth at Austin Country Club.
There was a day between the pictures on the par three, however that hardly diminishes the outstanding nature of this consecutive double feat.
Garcia was on the fourth sudden-hole of his final group game on Friday, when, with Lee Westwood already on the inexperienced, the Spaniard watched his effort fly over the flag, earlier than spinning again into the cup.
“Well, 28 years on tour and I thought I’d seen everything. I hadn’t!” Westwood tweeted, after reflecting on Garcia’s walk-off shot. Westwood ought to have hung round. It was about to get weirder nonetheless.
The National Hole-In-One Registry experiences that the chances of two gamers taking part in collectively making aces on the identical gap as 17million-1. To put that in perspective, the chances of getting struck by lightning are 960,000-1.
Those odds are maybe diminished due to the experience of Fleetwood and Garcia, besides… Westwood couldn’t consider it, tweeting straight after Fleetwood’s shot: “Incredible! Amazing! Never seen anything like it! Oh wait!!!”
It was just a little over 14 hours after Garcia’s glory when Fleetwood was the very subsequent professional to tackle the outlet, having gone one-up in the opening last-16 encounter towards South African Dylan Frittelli. Of course, the outlet was reduce on a special a part of the inexperienced and the tee had been put 19 yards again from Friday and was now taking part in 179 yards.
Using a seven-iron to Garcia’s nine-iron, Fleetwood additionally flew the pin, using the slope to convey it into the cup. If the result was eerily acquainted then the celebration was the precise reverse. There was no acknowledgement from Fleetwood, simply the merest of smirks.
“We weren’t sure whether it had gone in,” Fleetwood stated. “We couldn’t see it. There were like only four people behind the green. When we got up there Dylan laughed. Because it had disappeared and obviously gone in. I think that was back-to-back holes-in-one on that hole because Sergio was the last person to play it last night. So we’re on it good run on that one.”
Fleetwood and Garcia appeared to be on a superb run full-stop, with the previous prevailing 4&3 and the latter accounting for Canadian Mackenzie Hughes 2&1 to additionally advance to the quarters.
They appeared unstoppable. However, Fleetwood conceded a two-up lead over Billy Horschel with seven to play, earlier than bogeying the primary additional gap. Horschel is one in every of three Americans in Sunday morning’s semi-finals, which is kind of the return for Steve Stricker’s males, seeing there have been 4 Europeans and 4 US gamers in the final eight.
Victor Perez is the final in the blue-and-gold brigade left standing. After seeing off Garcia 4&3, the Frenchman who lives in Scotland faces Horschel, with Matt Kuchar taking part in Scottie Scheffler for the honour of a spot in Sunday’s 18-hole closing. Scheffler accounted for world No 3 Jon Rahm 3&1, highlighting the volatility of the nano-a-nano format.
At No 30, Scheffler is the bottom seed left in the $10.5million championship. Too a lot will probably be product of this. The margins are tiny in the elite and 18-hole matchplay means only a few outcomes at that degree can realistically be thought of a “shock”. “Anybody that is in this area is a good participant.,’ Kuchar stated after being Brian Harmon 2&1.
Perez, a European Tour winner has made such excellent progress to succeed in world No 33 that he already seemed booked in for his Ryder Cup debut in September. This merely reinforces his candidature. The 28-year-old was very good towards Bob MacIntyre in the final 16.
Perez was seven-under for the 14 holes so there was no disgrace in defeat for MacIntyre, the Scottish left-hander. In reality, the 24-year-old from Oban clearly fared extraordinarily commendably in his debut to win a gaggle together with world No 1 Dustin Johnson.
The very least MacIntyre can take away from the Lone Star State is the truth that he has greater than finished sufficient to make sure he’ll stay in the world’s prime 50 when the brand new rankings are launched on Monday and will so earn his place on the Masters. That has lengthy been the intention for MacIntyre and the reduction will probably be monumental. “Until that invite comes through the door, I’ll not be at Augusta,” he stated.