The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is no longer a single-elimination tournament, but losing the opening round of pool play doesn’t bode well for your chances. Last year, only three players lost their first match and went on to advance to the quarterfinals.
That’s bad news for Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, victims of the two biggest upsets on day one at Austin Country Club.
Johnson, the No. 1 overall seed, stumbled late against Bernd Wiesberger, making bogeys on Nos. 15 and 17 during a 3 and 1 loss.
“To be honest, if you look back at the way we played, it wasn’t both of our best days,” Wiesberger said. “He made some mistakes. I gave him a few holes with bogeys early on and it wasn’t pretty.”
McIlroy went 5 down against Peter Uihlein with five holes remaining before making a valiant comeback attempt. Last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational winner made a long birdie putt on No. 14, stuck a wedge close for birdie on No. 15 and then got up-and-down for birdie on the par-5 16th.
A must-make putt for @McIlroyRory …
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 21, 2018
His run stopped when he made par on No. 17, losing 2 and 1 to Uihlein.
“I made him earn it at least,” McIlroy said. “I made the score line a little more respectable.”
Jon Rahm, the No. 3 seed, nearly joined McIlroy and Johnson in losing but was able to salvage a halve against Keegan Bradley. Rahm won three of the first four holes to grab a big lead, but made bogeys on Nos. 6, 7, 10 and 15 to relinquish the lead. Trailing 1 down on the final hole, Rahm made par as Bradley made bogey.