Koepka rolls to another victory in Match Play
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) The Latest on the Dell Technologies Match Play (all times local):
Rory McIlroy has never had a stranger week at the Match Play.
He lost to four straight birdies by Soren Kjeldsen on Wednesday. He didn't play on Thursday when Gary Woodland withdrew for a personal matter. And it won't matter how McIlroy plays on Friday, because he'll be out of the tournament as the No. 2 seed.
Kjeldsen, the No. 62 seed in the tournament, had no trouble with Emiliano Grillo in a 4-and-3 victory. And because Kjeldsen was to play Woodland in the final day of round-robin play, the Dane is assured of going 3-0 and advancing out of the group.
About the only thing left for McIlroy is to decide whether he will enter the Shell Houston Open next week. He has until 5 p.m. to decide. Because of a rib injury that kept him out seven weeks, McIlroy has played only 14 competitive rounds this year.
Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson had another easy time and remain undefeated in the Match Play.
The biggest battle is the wind.
Gusts upward of 30 mph are wreaking havoc across Austin Country Club. On the 12th hole, Daniel Berger hit into the water to seemingly lose the hole. Mickelson was just right of the green, and it was so fast that he chipped into the water. They halved the hole, but Mickelson won the match, 5 and 4.
Johnson, the No. 1 seed, was 4 up with four to play against Martin Kaymer and nearly drove the green with a 380-yard drive. His flip wedge bounded over the green and he lost the hole. He still won, 4 and 3.
The key matches on the course: Jordan Spieth has to beat Yuta Ikeda to avoid elimination. Spieth was a 1 up through 5. Pat Perez was 1 up through 14 over Marc Leishman. If Leishman wins, he advances out of the group.
Elimination from Match Play has come one day early for Hideki Matsuyama and Masters champion Danny Willett.
By losing their matches Thursday, they were among at least eight players mathematically eliminated from winning their group and advancing to the knockout stage on the weekend.
Others to be eliminated were Francesco Molinari, Scott Piercy, Jason Dufner and Patrick Reed. They still have to play Friday because their matches could have a bearing on who wins the group.
But when Molinari withdrew after his second straight loss with a wrist injury, that also eliminated Bernd Wiesberger and Thongchai Jaidee. Molinari was to play Alex Noren on Friday, so Noren now is guaranteed to be 3-0.
Jason Day and Gary Woodland previously withdrew from the tournament.
Day's mother is having lung cancer surgery on Friday. Woodland's departure was described by his agent, Mark Steinberg, only as a ''personal family matter.'' No other details were expected.
Gary Woodland is the second player to withdraw from the Match Play, conceding his match to Rory McIlroy.
Tournament officials say Woodland has withdrawn for personal reasons. A statement was expected later.
McIlroy had to win Thursday to avoid elimination, though that remains in play. If Soren Kjeldsen defeats Emiliano Grillo, the Dane wins his group because he was to play Woodland on the final day of round-robin play.
Woodland was the runner-up in Match Play two years ago.
Jason Day, the No. 3 seed, withdrew on Wednesday to be with his mother when she has lung cancer surgery.
Brooks Koepka walked off the 13th green and for the second straight day, got into a golf cart and headed to the clubhouse.
Two matches, two blowout victories.
Koepka, who has missed four cuts in his PGA Tour starts this year, scored a 6-and-5 victory over Jason Dufner and is one match away from winning his group for the second straight year in the Match Play. He beat Kevin Kisner by the same margin on Wednesday.
Koepka and Bubba Watson are both 2-0 in their matches. Watson beat Scott Piercy, 4 and 3.
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.