A tremendous tee shot by Rory McIlroy led the world No. 3 to affix top-ranked defending champion Scottie Scheffler and second-ranked Jon Rahm in capturing clutch victories from Thursday’s second group matches on the World Golf Championship Match Play occasion.
The Northern Irishman made an epic drive with a shocking 375-yard blast on the 18th gap, touchdown the ball inside 4 toes of the outlet for a tap-in eagle that clinched a 2-up overcome forty eighth seed Denny McCarthy.
“It was good,” McIlroy stated. “I didn’t suppose I might get it on the inexperienced.”
The four-time Main champion and Scheffler remained unbeaten whereas Rahm bounced again from a gap loss at Austin (Texas) Nation Membership, the place 16 winners from four-man teams will advance to weekend knockout rounds.
McIlroy, the 2015 Match Play champion, didn’t lead McCarthy till the par-five sixteenth gap when he had a tap-in birdie and the American missed a seven-foot birdie putt to place McIlroy 1 up.
Then got here McIlroy’s clinching tee shot, which was airborne for 349 yards, practically 70 yards longer than the typical PGA Tour carry, earlier than rolling as much as the cup for a tap-in.
“I simply performed rather well, performed actually strong,” he added. “Didn’t make a bogey and made some birdies once I wanted to and fortunately was capable of win.”
Additionally in McIlroy’s group, twentieth seed Keegan Bradley received his first WGC match in 11 years, ripping fellow American Scott Stallings 6&5.
Reigning Masters champion Scheffler, who received the Gamers Championship earlier in March, downed Swedish thirty eighth seed Alex Noren 5&4 after solely edging American 54th seed Davis Riley 1 up in a Wednesday opener.
“I simply went out and performed strong, no bogeys, and made some key putts,” he stated.
“I simply type of stored the strain on him and hit actually good photographs.”
Rahm, a three-time PGA winner in 2023, bounced again from a gap loss to Rickie Fowler by beating thirty ninth seed Keith Mitchell of america 4&3.
The Spaniard made 5 birdies and a 14-foot eagle putt on the par-five twelfth whereas by no means trailing to maintain his title hopes alive.
“Not many errors tee to inexperienced,” Rahm stated. “Made a couple of birdie putts and received a cushty lead.”
American seventh seed Will Zalatoris was eradicated with a 5&3 loss to his compatriot, the thirty seventh seed Harris English and Norway’s eighth-seeded Viktor Hovland was ousted with a 4&3 loss to South Korean thirty fourth seed Kim Si-woo.
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