2019 WGC-Match Play scores, results: Jon Rahm rolls, but big names fall on Day 1 in Austin
The first of three rounds of pool play made for a great pre-hoops appetizer
The first day of the 2019 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is in the books, and we got some interesting outcomes, including top seeds losing, Tiger Woods winning and some wild swings in the way matches played out. Let's take a detailed look at how Round 1 went down on Wednesday.
Top seed losses -- Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed: You definitely can't win this tournament on Wednesday, but you can put yourself in a pretty terrible position. As Justin Ray noted, 75 percent of players who advanced in the last three years have done so with 3-0-0 records. So this group of top-16 seeds who went 0-1-0 on the first day will be in the minority if they make it to the weekend.
What did Tiger Woods do? Big Cat made just four birdies on the day, and he didn't win any of those holes. So he got stomped, right? Wrong. Woods beat Aaron Wise 3 and 1 despite also making four bogeys. Wise had an even wilder day as he made six birdies, seven bogeys and a double. Woods won six holes with pars and one with a bogey. It was ... something.
"I've played a lot of different matches over the years. This is definitely one of the more emotional matches. I don't know how many holes we halved, but it wasn't many," Woods said. "There was a lot of ebb and flow to this match. It wasn't like we were both playing great golf, but somehow I came out with the win."
Biggest surprise: I'll say Lucas Bjerregaard beating Justin Thomas 3 and 2. J.T. made it to the semifinals here last year but couldn't get anything going on Wednesday, especially on the back nine where he made six pars and a bogey in the seven holes they played.
Biggest rout: My pick to win it, Jon Rahm, dusted poor Si Woo Kim 7 and 5. He won the first four holes on the back nine, and that was all the holes they played on the back nine.
Biggest comeback: Jim Furyk was 3 down through eight holes, and he somehow won six of the next 10 to beat Jason Day 2 up. This is relevant because he's on the cusp of another Masters (see note below).
Biggest tie: Jordan Spieth birdied his last two to halve with Billy Horschel, who was top five in the field in putting on Thursday. Spieth didn't putt all that well, but he did hit it better than he has been. He also sounded like he just needed to see something (anything) go his way (see quote below). Even a tie.
Who hit it? Match play is wonky, but the PGA Tour still provides good stats on who actually played good golf, no matter what the scoreboard says. Kevin Kisner, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia and Marc Leishman all gained three or more strokes on the field. Strangely, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods both lost two or more strokes (which is not how you want to head to Augusta!).
Who putted it? Jon Rahm, Billy Horschel, Thorbjorn Olesen, Ian Poulter and Haotong Li all gained two or more strokes on the greens.
Masters watch: The following players are all at or around the bubble of top 50 in the world. If they're in the top 50 on Sunday, they get in the Masters. If not, they don't. Here's how they fared on Wednesday.
- Shane Lowry: Lost to Sergio Garcia
- Justin Harding: Beat Matthew Fitzpatrick
- Ben An: Lost to Tommy Fleetwood
- Andrew Putnam: Beat Patrick Reed
- Jim Furyk: Beat Jason Day
- Chez Reavie: Lost to Dustin Johnson
An, Putnam and Furyk likely only need to win twice in pool play to make it into the top 50. Reavie has to make it to the quarterfinals. And Lowry and Harding need to just not go 0-3-0 (and even if they do, they're probably still in.
Stat of the day: This is so good. So, so good. Especially in light of the reality that we have an opportunity for a first this week with four European winners in a row on the PGA Tour.
Shot of the day: How did he get it to spin?!
Not shot of the day: This from Watson made me laugh.
Quote of the day: "It's the best I've played under pressure in a little while. I haven't really been in position to play under pressure in a little while." -Jordan Spieth
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