2018 WGC-Dell Match Play Round Three & Quarter Finals
Facing the semi-finals on Sunday are Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson, Alex Noren and Kevin Kisner. If Thomas were to win the final he would replace Dustin Johnson as world No. 1.
In the quarter-finals Thomas beat out Kyle Stanley (2 & 1), Watson won against Kiradech Aphibarnrat (5 & 3), Noren took out Cameron Smith (4& 2) and Kisner won over Ian Poulter (8 & 6).
During the third round Patrick Reed faced off against Jordan Spieth. That match is in the video below. Reed was never trailing during the round and he achieved a 2 & 1 victory. Spieth hit trouble immediately: two hazards after an out of bounds shot, within the first three holes. He squared briefly at the tenth then lost two of the next three holes. Reed wrapped up the round in great style with a flying 40 foot putt at the 17th green. It looked as though the ball was going way too far, but it rolled to the cup for a birdie.
However Reed in turn was taken out later, by Alex Noren (5 & 3).
Sergio Garcia beat out all of his first group: Shubhankar Sharma, Dylan Fritelli and Xander Schauffele. Then on Saturday he gave way to Kyle Stanley, with three birdies to Stanley's six as well as three bogeys.
Garcia is the defending champion at this year's Masters tournament. In 2017 he beat Justin Rose in a playoff. So now for Garcia it is "On to Augusta!" He added, "It's definitely exciting!"
Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm both left the game in the first round. They were the final two in the WGC-Dell Match Play last year, with Johnson winning and Rahm the runner-up.
Ian Poulter defeated Louis Oosthuizen (2 & 1). He then got chatting with a group of reporters who told him that he was over the line for the Masters. He did not realise that he still had to win one more match. That match was with Kevin Kisner. Kisner led early and never slowed down, winning 8 and 6. Poulter then learned that he had not, in fact, made it through to the Masters. His world ranking will be 51 this next week.
When asked if his misunderstanding of the situation contributed to the outcome of the match with Kisner, Poulter replied:
"I mean, I can't put that down as an excuse. It would be an excuse if I said it," he said. "So it's disappointing to be given the wrong information, but that wasn't any part of this afternoon."
Earlier, Poulter himself attributed a success to another player, which he did not have. Referring to Louis Oosthuizen he said, "You're going to be tough to beat if you make eight birdies, and I knew I needed that against Louis. I knew Louis wasn't going to back off, that's why he's got a green jacket in his closet."
Oosthuizen was in fact razor-edge close to winning the Masters in 2010, but Bubba Watson took it in the playoff.
Australian Cameron Smith has secured his Masters invitation and says that "a weight has been lifted off" his shoulders by that confirmation. He won against Patrick Cantlay then was beaten by Sweden's Alex Noren (4 & 2) at the WGC-Dell Match Play, so was unsure of the result for his Masters attendance. Now Smith is looking towards Augusta and Cantlay, too, is on the way to the Masters.