Séamus Power confident as Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry seek putting inspiration at Match Play in Texas
Séamus Power believes he has the game and the confidence to back up last year’s stunning debut with another big run in the $20 million WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin today.
The West Waterford man is making his final warm-up for the Masters at Austin Country Club, and after reaching the quarter-finals last year, he takes on world No 15 Sam Burns in his opening round-robin match feeling good about his chances.
“I feeling very good coming into the week,” said Power, who faces Canada’s Adam Hadwin tomorrow before a Friday showdown with 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott. “I like the course and I love the format.
“Coming off a strong performance last year gives me a lot of confidence, but every match will be a tough one because everyone here is a good player.
“But at the same time, I know if I play my game and do what I need to do, I have a chance to beat anyone I play, so I will go in with that attitude.”
He beat Sungjae Im and Patrick Cantlay and followed defeat to Keith Mitchell in his final group match with a 4&3 win over Tyrrell Hatton before going down 3&2 to eventual champion Scottie Scheffler in the quarter-finals last year.
Hatton will have Shane Lowry’s former caddie Brian ‘Bo’ Martin on his bag for the next few months as the Englishman’s regular bagman, Mick Donaghy, undergoes knee surgery.
But with the Masters just three weeks away, Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry arrive in Texas looking for their putters to heat up.
Ranked 173rd for strokes gained putting so far this season, McIlroy was using the Scotty Cameron Newport model in Austin earlier this week rather than his usual TaylorMade Spider GT having loved it when he used it in a practice round at Augusta National alongside retired NFL legend Tom Brady last week.
He faces Scott Stallings (38) in today’s opening round before taking on Denny McCarthy and 2011 PGA champion Keegan Bradley.
But the four-time Major winner, who skipped last year’s event, has enjoyed mixed results in this event since making his debut at Dove Mountain in Arizona in 2009.
He lost to Hunter Mahan in the 2012 final, then beat Gary Woodland in the 2015 decider at Harding Park. But while he would reach the last four in Austin in 2016, he’s emerged from his group once since then, losing 2&1 to Tiger Woods in the last 16 in 2019.
Like McIlroy, Lowry is also looking to see some putts fall as he chases a $3.5 million (€3.25m) payday in an event where he has struggled for success.
His best result came on his debut in 2009 when he fell to Graeme McDowell in the last 16 in Tucson. But has yet to emerge from his group since the format changed to round-robin play, winning just four of his 18 matches.
He takes on debutant Taylor Montgomery today and Canadian Mackenzie Hughes tomorrow before Friday’s final group match with three-time Major winner Jordan Spieth.
After winning twice in his last four starts, defending champion and world No 1 Scheffler will be a tough man to stop in his home state.
He takes on American Davis Riley in the first round before facing Sweden’s Alex Noren and world No 19 Tom Kim as he bids to top his group and make the last 16 on Saturday morning.
“I’m hoping that I’m a little bit better than I was last year,” said the Texan, whose world No 1 ranking is not under threat this week.
WGC-Dell Match Play, Live, Sky Sports Golf, 2.15pm