Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, watches his drive on the first hole during round-robin play against Soren Kjeldsen, of Denmark, at the Dell Technologies Match Play golf tournament at Austin County Club, Wednesday, March 22, 2017, in Austin, Texas. (AP
Eric Gay
March 23, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth face what could amount to elimination day at the Dell Technologies Match Play.

Both lost their opening matches at Austin Country Club. Even with two rounds remaining in group play, neither can afford to lose if he wants a chance at advancing into the weekend of single elimination.

McIlroy is the No. 2 seed who won in 2015 and reached the semifinals last year. Spieth is the No. 5 seed. He played poorly in a 4-and-2 loss to Hideto Tanihara, and on Thursday faced another Japanese player in Yuta Ikeda.

McIlroy played Gary Woodland, whom he beat in the championship match at Harding Park two years ago.

A year ago, only one player who lost his opening match advanced out of his group.

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