World #1 Jon Rahm and Collin Morikawa advanced out of their groups but Viktor Hovland and Patrick Cantlay weren’t so lucky at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin (Texas) Country Club on Friday.
Will Zalatoris defeated Norway’s Hovland 1 up in a sudden death playoff to advance out of Group 3. Zalatoris birdied the second playoff hole.
“It’s really nice. I mean, it was kind of hard fought today against Viktor,” Zalatoris said. “I basically played where I tried to make sure I just didn’t make any mistakes. I made one mistake all day, really, and that’s tough to beat but Viktor, obviously made me earn it today.”
Seamus Power of Ireland advanced out of Group 4 on the strength of a 5 and 4 over Cantlay on Thursday. Power lost Friday to Keith Mitchell but his 2 points stood up.
“I played probably the worst I’ve played,” Power said. “It was a weird day obviously because not winning but still going through. So the goal the start of the week was to get into knockouts. … So, I was able to do this so tidy up a couple things this afternoon and go from there.”
The 64-player field consists of 16 groups competing in round-robin play over the first three days of the event, with players awarded one point for a win and half a point for a tie. The player with the most points in each group advances to the Round of 16, with ties broken by a sudden-death playoff. Saturday and Sunday will feature single-elimination, head-to-head matches.
Rahm lost to Patrick Reed 3 and 2 on Friday but it didn’t matter. Rahm’s 2 points earn him a date with #16 seed Brooks Koepka on Saturday morning.
Morikawa defeated Jason Kokrak 1 up on Friday for 2.5 points to get through.
Scottie Scheffler advances to the Round of 16 out of Group 5; Kevin Kisner collected all three points to advance out of Group 6 instead of the favored Justin Thomas. Japan’s Takumi Kanaya defeated Lucas Herbert in sudden death to get the Group 7 nod.
Dustin Johnson easily took Group 8 with three points, England’s Richard Bland was the winner of Group 9, Canadian Corey Conners earned three points to move on from Group 10, Australian Adam Scott took Group 11, event defending champion Billy Horschel advances out of Group 12.
Tyrell Hatton of England (Group 13), Kevin Na (14), Mexico’s Abraham Ancer (15) and Koepka (16) round out the field of 16 that advance to the knockout rounds.