Billy Horschel into Match Play last 16 after dramatic draw with Thomas Pieters

Defending champion Billy Horschel produced a grandstand finish to become the first player into the last 16 of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Thomas Pieters was two up with two holes to play against Horschel and seemingly on course to secure the win which would set up a play-off between the pair to decide the winner of group 12.

However, Horschel made a birdie on the 17th and was conceded another on the last after Pieters missed from close range for his own birdie.

Horschel said: “Thomas came to play today and he played a beautiful round of golf. I’m going to guess he probably shot four, five under maybe, didn’t make a bogey at all.

“So when your opponent’s not gifting you anything, then you’ve got to be on your game.

“I played really solid except for two holes where I hit a pitching wedge in the water on three, which is just a bad, bad swing, and then another bad swing at 13 with a three iron off the tee just trying to put it in the fairway.

“But other than that, I hung in there. I hit some really quality shots. Being two down with two to go and knowing all I needed was a half to move on to the round of 16, that’s a real confidence boost to birdie the last two to get through.”

Scottie Scheffler
Scottie Scheffler hits off the sixth tee during his match against Matt Fitzpatrick at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play (Tony Gutierrez/AP)

Horschel will face either Matt Fitzpatrick or Scottie Scheffler in the knockout stages after Scheffler’s 5 and 4 victory over Fitzpatrick left the pair tied on two points at the top of group five.

Tommy Fleetwood could have made it a three-man play-off with a victory over Ian Poulter, but lost 4 and 3 to his Ryder Cup team-mate.