McIlroy poised for last 16, Watson's Match Play defence ends

Former world number one Rory McIlroy made it two wins from two at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play as he closed in on the last 16, though defending champion Bubba Watson was eliminated.

McIlroy – the 2015 champion – stayed perfect in Austin thanks to Thursday's 3 and 2 win over South African Justin Harding.

After opening his campaign by beating Luke List, Players Championship winner and Northern Irish star McIlroy will advance if he avoids defeat to Matt Fitzpatrick in Group 4 on Friday.

McIlroy was seeded to meet Tiger Woods in the last 16 at Austin Country Club, however the 14-time major champion is on the brink of exiting the tournament.

Three-time Match Play winner Woods – making his first appearance in the round-robin format rather than the previous single-elimination set-up – lost 2 and 1 to Brandt Snedeker.

Woods hit a left-handed shot from under a tree and saved par but it was a difficult day for the American, who now needs to beat Patrick Cantlay and hope Snedeker loses to Aaron Wise in Group 13 as only the top player advances from each pool.

Watson, meanwhile, failed to progress to the weekend after going down 2 and 1 to Billy Horschel.

Following his opening loss to Kevin Na, Watson tasted back-to-back defeats as the defending champion of the tournament failed to advance for the third consecutive year.

Brooks Koepka and Jason Day also bowed out, while world number one Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm are in precarious positions.

 

Group 1: Branden Grace (2-0-0) beat Dustin Johnson (1-1-0) 1up, Hideki Matsuyama (0-1-1) and Chez Reavie (0-1-1) halved their match
Group 2: Justin Rose (1-0-1) and Eddie Pepperell (0-1-1) halved their match, Gary Woodland (2-0-0) beat Emiliano Grillo (0-2-0) 1up
Group 3: Li Haotong (2-0-0) beat Brooks Koepka (0-1-1) 1up, Alex Noren (1-1-0) beat Tom Lewis (0-1-1) 4 and 2
Group 4: Rory McIlroy (2-0-0) beat Justin Harding (1-1-0) 3 and 2, Luke List (1-1-0) beat Matt Fitzpatrick (0-2-0) 2 and 1
Group 5: Justin Thomas (1-1-0) beat Matt Wallace (1-1-0) 3 and 1, Keegan Bradley (0-1-1) and Lucas Bjerregaard (1-0-1) halved their match
Group 6: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (1-1-0) beat Bryson DeChambeau (1-1-0) 2 and 1, Marc Leishman (2-0-0) beat Russell Knox (0-2-0) 2up
Group 7: Francesco Molinari (2-0-0) beat Thorbjorn Olesen (1-1-0) 4 and 3, Webb Simpson (0-1-1) and Satoshi Kodaira (0-1-1) halved their match
Group 8: J.B. Holmes (1-1-0) beat Jon Rahm (1-1-0) 2 and 1, Matt Kuchar (2-0-0) beat Kim Si-woo (0-2-0) 6 and 4
Group 9: Xander Schauffele (1-0-1) and Tyrrell Hatton (1-0-1) halved their match, Rafa Cabrera Bello (0-1-1) and Lee Westwood (0-1-1) halved their match
Group 10: Paul Casey (1-0-1) and Charles Howell III (1-0-1) halved their match, Abraham Ancer (1-1-0) beat Cameron Smith (0-2-0) 3 and 2
Group 11: Tommy Fleetwood (1-0-1) and Kyle Stanley (1-0-1) halved their match, Louis Oosthuizen (1-1-0) beat Byeong Hun An (0-2-0) 1up
Group 12: Henrik Stenson (2-0-0) beat Jason Day (0-2-0) 4 and 3, Jim Furyk (2-0-0) beat Phil Mickelson (0-2-0) 1up
Group 13: Brandt Snedeker (1-0-1) beat Tiger Woods (1-1-0) 2 and 1, Patrick Cantlay (1-0-1) beat Aaron Wise (0-2-0) 4 and 2
Group 14: Kevin Kisner (1-1-0) beat Tony Finau (1-1-0) 2up, Keith Mitchell (1-1-0) beat Ian Poulter (1-1-0) 1up
Group 15: Billy Horschel (1-0-1) beat Bubba Watson (0-2-0) 2 and 1, Jordan Spieth (1-0-1) beat Kevin Na (1-1-0) 3 and 2
Group 16: Patrick Reed (0-1-1) and Shane Lowry (0-1-1) halved their match, Sergio Garcia (2-0-0) beat Andrew Putnam (1-1-0) 5 and 4

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