Spieth and McIlroy begin to find form
Published 25/03/2016 | 02:30
Another day, another European Ryder Cup hero accounted for. So much for Jordan Spieth being in a slump before his Masters defence. The only things slumping at the WGC-Dell Match Play are his opponents' shoulders.
Victor Dubuisson went the way of Gleneagles team-mate Jamie Donaldson, although the Frenchman fared worse in defeat that the Welshman, losing 5&4. True, it was not as humiliating as the 8&6 drubbing which Martin Kaymer - another member of Paul McGinley's side - suffered to Zach Johnson but it was comprehensive all the same.
At least it started well for the Dubuisson, who drove the 381-yard par-four first. Spieth was playing his third shot before Dubuisson was playing his second. But in classic matchplay style, Spieth got up and down, Dubuisson three-putted and after the American rolled off three of the next four holes that was that.
Spieth was not moaning, however. After a mediocre four-tournament spell, in which his best performance was a tie for 17th, the 22-year-old could finally see his game returning with Augusta under a fortnight away.
Rory McIlroy earned his second victory of the event with a late surge against Smylie Kaufman. The American was 1 up through 12, however, McIlroy won four of the next five holes to win 3&1 without needing to go down the last.
The 18th, however, was where Shane Lowry rescued a half in a match with Marcus Fraser but it won't be enough for the Offaly man to progress. It was a frustrating afternoon for Lowry who was 3 up at the turn but saw his form desert him. Having lost his opener, Lowry can't overtake Johnson in Group 14.
Graeme McDowell also surrendered a back nine lead against Paul Casey to finish all square, a result which eliminates the Portrush man whose group is topped by Jason Day. The Australian eased past Thongchai Jaidee 5&3, despite concerns over a back injury.
Lee Westwood was beaten by Garcia on the 18th on Wednesday, but this time he was shaking hands in triumph on the final green. Despite conceding four holes, the veteran beat Mark Leishman one-up. Should he beat Ryan Moore today then the least Westwood will be assured of is a play-off. (© Daily Telegraph, London) WGC-Dell Match Play,
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