Spieth through to round of 16
Jordan Spieth advanced to the round of 16 at the WGC-Dell Match Play in Austin following a 3&2 win over Justin Thomas.
World number two Jason Day also progressed to the round of 16 after Paul Casey withdrew midway through their clash on Friday.
Defending champion Rory McIlroy meanwhile survived a huge scare as he was forced to beat Kevin Na in a sudden death play-off.
Spieth found his groove early on and went 1-up after making a nine-foot birdie at the second. He doubled his lead by sinking a 16-foot birdie at the fourth before extending it to 3-up with a 15-foot putt at the fifth.
The world number one proceeded to go 4-up at the ninth before Thomas reduced his lead following a nine-foot birdie putt at the 10th. However, Spieth restored his four-hole advantage at the 12th only to have it cut down at the next hole, where Thomas converted an eight-foot birdie putt.
Despite reducing Spieth’s advantage to just two holes at the 15th, it was too little too late for Thomas as the 22-year-old made an incredible 43-foot eagle putt at the 16th to book his spot in the round of 16.
Spieth will face Louis Oosthuizen in the round of 16 after the South African beat Andy Sullivan 4&2.
Day, who is still recovering from a back injury he suffered on Wednesday, found himself trailing right off the bat as Casey made a 10-foot birdie putt at the first. Casey took advantage of Day’s poor putting to extend his lead at the second.
However, Day fought his way back into contention as he used Casey’s bogey at the fifth to reduce the deficit before bringing himself level with a birdie at the sixth.
Following the sixth hole, Casey withdrew from his clash with Day as he was suffering from a stomach virus.
Day will take on Brandt Snedeker after the latter defeated Charl Schwartzel 5&3.
McIlroy endured a tough battle with Na as the latter went 1-up at the second before extending it with a birdie at the fifth. However, the Ulsterman battled back and reduced Na’s lead with an eight-foot birdie putt at the seventh before bringing himself level with an unbelievable 68-foot birdie putt at the ninth.
Na restored his one-hole advantage with a 16-foot birdie putt at the 10th, but McIlroy levelled things once again with a 32-foot birdie putt at the 11th. The defending champion found himself in the lead for the first time when he made a birdie at the 15th, but his lead did not last long due to Na’s birdie at the 16th.
With neither player ahead after 18 holes, a sudden death play-off was needed. After McIlroy and Na made pars at the first play-off hole, the world number three converted a six-foot par putt at the second play-off hole, which was played at the second, while Na registered a bogey due to his tee shot falling in the native area.
Meanwhile, J.B. Holmes shocked Bubba Watson by beating him 1-up, while Rickie Fowler halved his encounter with Byeong-Hun An. The South Korean will now face Rafa Cabrera Bello in the round of 16.
Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat fell to Dustin Johnson in a sudden death play-off, but India’s Anirban Lahiri triumphed over Fabian Gomez 4&2. Hideki Matsuyama was also victorious as he downed Kevin Kisner 3&2, while Thongchai Jaidee halved his clash with Graeme McDowell.
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