Final four at WGC Dell Technologies Match Play are ready to go
Final four for the Semifinals are ready to fight it out for the title at WGC Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club, Austin, Texas.
The list consists of stalwarts like Justin Thomas, Alex Noren, Bubba Watson, and Kevin Kisner, after winning their Round of 16’s and Quarterfinals.
Round of 16 results
Justin Thomas defeated Si Woo Kim by 6&5 in a battle lasting 14 holes with Thomas dominating Kim from the second hole, their first hole was all-square with pars from them.
Kevin Kisner had to face Matt Kuchar who had an ace on par-3 seventh on Friday, and the match was interesting to watch too as it ran for good 16 holes before Kisner won it by 1-UP, the max he rose to was 2-UP but Kuchar was not letting him take any clear advantage with his charges until the last.
Alex Noren defeated Patrick Reed in the round of 16 who sent Jordan Spieth packing on Friday with a 40-footer birdie putt from outside the green. Noren won 5&3 after Reed had taken a 1-Up lead over him for first three holes, Noren made it all-square on the fourth with a birdie and later by the ninth hole he was already 3-Up, giving no chance to Reed to get up.
Noren extended his lead with a birdie on 11th and finished it in style with another birdie on par-4 15th to finish their match.
Bubba Watson was paired against Brian Harman who defeated Rory McIlroy by 5&4 in their opening match. Watson looked composed throughout their match which lasted for good 17 holes, their match saw the most ups and downs one can expect (video below), but lasting only on the front nine.
Watson won the first hole and it was all-squared by Harman with a par on the very next hole and was soon led by him to the seventh hole and the eighth hole got squared by Watson’s birdie and the lead was back to him with another birdie on the ninth.
Justin Thomas faced World No.45 Kyle Stanley, who dominated the match until the fifth hole when Thomas all-squared the sixth and seventh hole with a birdie and a par, and took a 1-Up lead on the eighth and lost it on the ninth when Stanley made a birdie in response to Thomas’s par.
Thomas regained his lead with a par on 10th and extended it to 3-Up by the 12th hole and lost just a point on 13th when Stanley birdied and Thomas remained at par and for rest of the holes they matched their scores shot by the shot before Thomas won it with 2-Up to enter Semifinals and is scheduled to face Bubba Watson on Sunday.
Kevin Kisner faced World No.58 English Ian Poulter in his quarterfinal match, which lasted for 12 holes before Kisner won it by 8&6.
The first two holes remained all-square before Kisner rallied a 5-Up lead by the seventh hole, and extended it to 7-Up by 10th hole with back to back wins on ninth and 10th, and finished it with 8-Up on the 12th hole when Poulter conceded his second hole (he conceded his par-3 fourth hole too).
Alex Noren faced Australian Cameron Smith who recently won Australian PGA Championship in Dec. 2017. Noren won the match with 4&2 after a dominating 16 holes fight.
Bubba Watson faced Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat, one of the seven who did not lose their both opening round matches. Watson won it with 5&3 after a 15 hole tight match.
Kiradech won only two holes out of 14, one with a birdie on par-4 third, to get Watson’s lead to all-square, and the ninth hole when Watson conceded the hole giving Kiradech again an all-square result, not formulating to any win for the whole round. Well, that was the last hole he won after that Watson was in charge, he won all the back nine holes leaving just the 14th (which was halved) and by the 15th Kiradech conceded the hole and paved way for Watson to claim the victory.
Justin Thomas Vs. Bubba Watson
The Final Four at the WGC Dell Technologies consists of Justin Thomas and is required to play Bubba Watson and if he wins, he has his bragging rights to be called the World No.1. Watson had bought plane tickets to enjoy a family weekend, not realizing he can be in semifinals.
“I figured I wasn’t going to make it, so I went ahead and scheduled a vacation,” said Watson, seeded 35th this week. “So I’ve got to call my wife now and tell her that I’m going to be a day late.”
This is not the first time Watson is playing someone who needs a win to become No.1, before this he played against Martin Kaymer in 2011, and when he lost to him, Kaymer was ranked No.1 for the first time in his career.
“I guess I’m good at that,” Watson said. “If you want No. 1, just beat me, and you’ll be No. 1.
Thomas had almost pulled out of the event following his visit to the dentist for his wisdom teeth removal, which gave him a sore throat.
“I had a pretty serious conversation with my dad on Monday if I was going to play,” Thomas said. “I never want to play in a tournament, first off if it’s going to hurt my health. If I was sick or really sick, me trying to play this week wasn’t going to do me any good. But also if I feel like I don’t have a chance to win, it’s also really — to me, I don’t understand the point of playing if I don’t feel like I can.”
Alex Noren Vs. Kevin Kisner
Alex Noren’s presence has stopped the event from being an all-American and he is looking for his first win on the TOUR since coming too close to it at the Farmers Insurance Open, which was finally won by Jason Day on a Monday finish.
“I’ve always liked match play because I think it’s very — the outcome is quite direct,” Noren said. “Four days, sometimes it can — you can go through holes that maybe mentally you’re a little bit out of it and then you get into it when it’s 72 holes.
“In match play, you’ve just got to be really focused all the time and anything can happen. And then you have to play well each round. You can’t just give up a round and then think you’ve got three more. Maybe that’s what I need to do in stroke play, as well, not give a round away. I’ve always liked it. You can be a little bit more aggressive.”
Noren is facing Kisner on Sunday who looks in form and has had a great game going for himself. Kisner posted eight birdies in his win against Kuchar, before rolling past Ian Poulter in the quarterfinals, 8 and 6.
Kisner is beaming with confidence and his post-round interview shows the glimpse of it, he has surely found his mojo.
“A lot of range balls, a lot of time,” Kisner said. “I haven’t been very confident throughout the bag all year. Sometimes you have to get a little worse before you get better. We’re always trying to improve. And I’m not sure if I needed to.
“It’s starting to click now. I started seeing some stuff on Tuesday. I played nine holes with Daniel Berger and started seeing the good stuff that I hadn’t seen in a few weeks. That was starting to build the confidence there. And throughout the week I’ve gained a lot more confidence.”
WGC Dell Technologies final round is surely going to be worth the watch, on one hand, we have Justin Thomas trying to gain World No.1 tag and on another, we have Alex Noren and Kevin Kisner fighting for the title, they are the best putters in the world currently.