Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson lose their opening session match plays
Rory McIlroy continued his strong game from last week’s win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard and still, it was not enough. McIlroy posted five straight birdies from 12th to 16th holes and still lost to Peter Uihlein by 2&1 after a 5-up lead against the Masters favorite contender.
“I felt it was going to go two different ways,” Uihlein said. “When a guy comes off a win, next week out, they’re either a little flat or still as hot as can be, and they’re just going to blitz it.”
Rory Golf 😲
Posted by European Tour on Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Things for the defending champion Dustin Johnson were not looking too good too, he hit two shots out of bounds on the same hole, another tee shot in the hazard and couldn’t make the putts that he couldn’t afford to miss on the back nine. He ended up losing on the 17th hole by 3&1 against Bernd Wiesberger.
Justin Thomas remained 2-UP against Luke List, who had to putt with a sand wedge over the last 12 holes. Thomas and List had a playoff just three weeks back at the Honda Classic where Thomas came out victorious and List damaging his putter after hitting it on a wall, had to manage with a wedge.
“I was walking off the 6th tee, and I was a little unhappy about the way I was feeling, a little under the weather,” said List, who was 2 down at the time. “And I thought it was like a brush area and me just kind of swiped my putter, and it turned out to be a wall. It bent like a fraction of an inch. So, unfortunately, I couldn’t use it the rest of the way. Stupid on my part.”
Despite playing with a wedge List looked strong, Thomas went 3-UP after seven, List won three of four holes from 13 to 16 to cut Thomas’s lead to 1-UP through 16, and after they both parred the 17th List had a chance to halve it. Thomas, however, won it after blasting his tee-shot into the greenside bunker on 18th, knocked it close from the sand and made birdie to win 2 up.
The winner of each of the 16 groups after Friday advances to Saturday’s Round of 16.
McIlroy along with Johnson, Phil Mickelson, and Tommy Fleetwood, now have to do some serious play to win their groups. All of them lost the opening match in their four-man groups.
In the two years, this round-robin format has been used, only four layers have lost on Wednesday and won their group.
One of them was Dustin Johnson in 2016.
DJ lost his first lead by driving into the hazard, with a 1-UP lead, he drove out of bounds twice, on the par-5 sixth hole, and his tee-shot on the par-3 11th hit off the rocks and into the lake, falling 2 down.
“I thought it was the easiest game I could have,” Wiesberger said. “I’m the underdog playing the defending champion. Just go out there and see what happens.”
Jordan Spieth won his opening match against Charl Schwartzel by winning three straight holes to build a 3-UP lead through 14 and holding on for a 2-and-1 victory.
Charles Howell III won against Phil Mickelson by 3&2. Mickelson lost his opening match for the first time since John Cook beat him 2002 at La Costa.
Sergio Garcia defeated Indian Shubhankar Sharma with 1-UP after latter posted two back to back birdies on the fifth and sixth hole to make the scores All Square, and later lead with a par on par-3 seventh and Garcia posted a bogey. By the 11th hole, Garcia posted a birdie and made it All Square again and Sharma took the lead on par-4 13th, but not for long as Garcia squared it again with a birdie on 14th, where Sharma managed a bogey before Garcia took a 1-UP lead with a birdie on the final hole.