Tournament organizers for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play must be thrilled with how things played out on Friday. Tiger Woods won his match, and got the help he needed, to advance to the knockout stage.
Even better: his first opponent in the knockout stages will be Rory McIlroy.
Woods played a four-hole stretch in five under on the back nine to beat Patrick Cantlay 4 and 2, but that alone wasn't enough to move into the round of 16—because Woods lost to Brandt Snedeker on Thursday, he also needed Aaron Wise (who entered Friday's round 0-2) to beat Snedeker in order to move on. Wise did just that, in dominating 6 and 4 fashion, to set up Woods vs. McIlroy in the round of 16.
Saturday's match will mark the first time that Woods and McIlroy face off in match play.
Woods was 2 down to Cantlay at one point and trailed 1 down after 10 before he caught absolute fire. He rolled in a 25-footer for birdie on the par-3 11th to tie the match.
Woods, who is making his last start before the Masters, took the lead after Cantlay couldn't match his birdie on the par-5 12th. Then came Woods' second incredible shot of the week—a day after a remarkable lefty chip from his knees, Woods holed out a wedge from 83 yards for an eagle 2.
He pushed the lead to three up with yet another birdie, this time from 19 feet on 14.
Cantlay conceded the match on the par-5 16th hole.
McIlroy will be a tough opponent—he's making his first start since winning the Players Championship and lost only three holes in winning all three of his group stage matches. He handidly beat Matthew Fitzpatrick, 4 and 2, on Friday.