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April 30 2017, 06:47 | Van Peters
Rory Mc Ilroy reached the semi-finals in last year's event
World number one Dustin Johnson continued his flawless record at the WGC-Dell Match Play on Thursday while number two Rory McIlroy was eliminated without even setting foot on the course.
While this guaranteed victory for McIlroy, it also meant that Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen, who beat McIlroy on Wednesday, was guaranteed a victory in his match over Woodland scheduled for tomorrow.
Thursday was as wild as it gets in this tournament, even without wind ripping so hard through the edge of Hill Country that Phil Mickelson chipped into the water and still halved the hole. Thomas had a 2-up lead with five holes to play until Matt Fitzpatrick won the next four holes with birdies to win the match.
After the Northern Irishman's opponent Gary Woodland pulled out of their match, citing personal reasons, McIlroy was awarded a point.
Italy's Francesco Molinari also withdrew with a wrist injury after suffering a 5&3 defeat to Thongchai Jaidee on Thursday. "I'm nervous that I haven't been in a match that has gone the last hole or two and feel that clutch pressure, but also the good is that I have been able to conserve energy heading into this weekend".
Brandt Snedeker, right, hits on the third hole during round-robin play at the Dell Technologies Match Play golf tournament at Austin County Club, Friday, March 24, 2017, in Austin, Texas.
One-sided wins early in the day for world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Brooks Koepka during the second round of pool play kept them undefeated and in a prime position to advance. The tap-in birdie gave him a 6-and-4 win and moved him into the Sweet 16 in his first appearance at the WGC-Dell Match Play.
Still, Mickelson used a word seldom heard at Austin Country Club on Thursday.
"So I just need some time away with her to make sure that everything goes well, because this has been very, very tough for me".
The format divides the 64 players into 16 four-man groups, with the victor of each group entering the knockout stage on Saturday.
Mickelson won the opening three holes in his match against J.B. Holmes. Garcia entered the day 1-0-1 and Rahm at 2-0, meaning the victor will advance from a loaded Group 7. I went out today and played the first eight holes and was 4 up, I just want to do that. He added a birdie on the par-5 12th and closed out the match with birdie on the par-4 15th.
Mullinax was coming off consecutive missed cuts in Florida when he got married Saturday to Abi Essman, whom he has dated since high school.
Watson has not had a top-10 finish since September's Tour Championship and, despite being ranked seventh in the world at the time, was left off the United States Ryder Cup team.