Tiger Woods Finally Met Match, and it Wasn't Rory McIlroy

Elena Summers
March 31, 2019

Tiger Woods moved into the quarterfinals of the Dell Technologies Match Play by outlasting Rory McIlroy in a match that turned on one bad shot. Two up through six holes of his quarter-final match against Bjerregaard, he was overrun by the Dane, who made a long eagle putt on the 16 and then birdied the 17 as well.

Open champion Francesco Molinari meets American Kevin Kisner in the other semi-final, with Molinari, the world No. 7, being the only top-10 ranked player remaining in the field.

He holed a 12-foot birdie putt that snapped hard to the right at the end on No. 17, knowing Woods was in tight for a certain birdie.

The Dane briefly levelled with a close-range putt at the 10th but found water off the next tee to allow Woods to win the hole with a bogey, with the pair then exchanging birdies at the par-five 12th. He never trailed since a birdie on the fifth hole, but it took a calamity of mistakes by McIlroy on the par-5 16th that kept the match from going the distance.

After barely clearing the hazard at the par-3 17th, Woods made par following a narrowly missed birdie putt by McIlroy. The wind changed. I played pretty consistent the entire day.

Four-time major victor McIlroy beat England's Matthew Fitzpatrick 4&2 to complete an unbeaten sweep of his group, never trailing in any match.

"It's awesome for the tournament, I think", McIlroy said.

"I knew I needed to put (the approach on the green) to at least have a chance at three and force him to have a good pitch shot. It was nice to get that lead, especially back-to-back holes, too", Woods said.

But successive birdies at the 12th and 13th helped McIlroy cut the gap to just one before a messy 16th hole from the Northern Irishman ended his chances of progressing. Woods last won the event in 2008. McIlroy blasted out and then conceded - with Woods not even having to hit a putt.

And he did in electrifying fashion - sinking an 82-yard eagle on the 13th hole at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship golf tournament in Austin, Texas, on Friday to advance to weekend play. He then took a 2-up lead despite a tricky drop from a cart path that left him in trouble, only to see Woods miss the green, hit a poor chip from the fringe and miss a 6-footer for par and make a bogey.

The 50th seed advanced to Sunday's semi-final against either Sergio Garcia or Matt Kuchar. "I went back and hit it again and it did the same thing". I made my putt, walked to the back of the green.

"I'm going to have to go out there and play my own game and not really look at what he does", he explained.

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