At the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, fans were treated to some incredible golf on Saturday, with the likes of Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler putting on an exhibition as the two edge closer to a possible dream match up in the final.
With the tournament featuring two rounds in one day over the weekend, it’s possible that fatigue can creep into the game, that’s unless you are Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele, who backed up their Last 16 matches with an incredible Quarter Final battle that saw a Better Ball score of 59, 12-under-par.
The match was an instant classic, with both men firing birdies for fun throughout at Austin Country Club and, for those in attendance and watching on their televisions, it was only right that it went down to the final hole, with McIlroy holing a 12- foot birdie putt to pick up a 1-up win, the only time he was, in fact, leading their match.
Claiming the first with a birdie, it was Schauffele who led early on as birdies were traded at the fourth. From there, McIlroy secured the fifth, but back-to-back gains for his opponent at the next two holes gave Schauffele a 2-up advantage.
McIlroy didn’t give in though, as a seventh birdie put him back to 1-down and, at the 10th, he got it back to a tie. Further birdies were made on the 12th and 13th and, with both men making further gains on the 16th and 17th, it came down to the 18th to decide it.
This week, McIlroy has loved the 18th hole, with the four-time Major winner producing one of the best drives you will ever see on Thursday, with his 375-yard tee shot finishing just three-feet away. In the Quarter Final match, his length off the tee helped once again, as he was able to put it close with the approach shot and hole for a birdie to secure the win.
“Both ends of the bag are working pretty well,” revealed McIlroy after his round, with the 33-year-old now facing Cameron Young in a mouthwatering Semi Final tie. “Yeah, I putted well all day… I think just because the greens were drying out as the day went on. They just got a little bit faster. Sort of once I figured that out and holed a nice putt for 2 on 4 , got my eye in and saw one go in, yeah, it was really good after that.”
It wasn’t just this match though that got others excited, with World No.1, Scottie Scheffler and Jason Day also producing a stunning round. Early on, it had been Day who suffered but, after seeking medical attention after suffering with allergies, it was Scheffler who pounced.
Carding seven birdies in his final nine holes, the American got the better of his Australian counterpart and, although the match didn’t go to the final hole, the pair were also 12-under-par through 17 holes, meaning that, if they had both parred the last, we would have seen yet another 59 in a Better Ball format.