Published: Tue, March 28, 2017
Sport | By Ellis Neal

McIlroy, Spieth facing elimination at Match Play

McIlroy, Spieth facing elimination at Match Play

Day has played just five tournaments this year after spending the final three months of 2016 overcoming back issues which forced him out of the final two playoffs events. Unfortunately, due to the round-robin format, four of Friday's matches are meaningless, but there are plenty of good ones on tap, highlighted by the meetings of two undefeated pairs: Paul Casey vs. Charl Schwartzel and Sergio Garcia vs. Jon Rahm.

Highlights from the second day of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Jordan Spieth stayed in with a 4-and-2 victory over Yuta Ikeda.

Na is undefeated beating the hot-shot compatriot Justin Thomas by a similar 4 & 2 margin and winning over Fitzpatrick on day one.

Jason Day hugs his mum Dening.

"I feel happy to have won but I have to play a lot better and fortunately my driving and my putting bailed me out as I couldn't hit a wedge 100 yards to save my life", he said.

The format divides the 64 players into 16 four-man groups, with the victor of each group entering the knockout stage on Saturday.

With Kjeldsen due to receive a walkover win over Woodland on Friday, he advances to the second round with the other three players in the group eliminated.

However, McIlroy's fate was still out of his hands with the man he lost to on day one, Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen, needing only a half against Emiliano Grillo to advance to the last 16.

He played the Memorial two weeks before his record victory in the 2011 U.S. Open.

Alex Noren also got a free pass into the round of 16 at Austin Country Club.

The opening round at the most unpredictable golf tournament took a stunning turn Wednesday when Day abruptly conceded his match to Pat Perez, and then revealed his mother has lung cancer, and he wanted to be home with her Friday when she has surgery.

Watson showed signs of a return to form as he saw off Scott Piercy 4&3, as Mickelson thrashed Daniel Berger 5&4 and Matt Fitzpatrick won the all-English clash against Chris Wood 4&2 in Group Six. Even with two rounds remaining in group play, neither can afford to lose if he wants a chance at advancing into the weekend of single elimination.

Koepka, seeded 20th, waylaid No. 59 Jason Dufner, 6 and 5, by taking advantage of Dufner's bogeys on the seventh, ninth and 10th holes, and a double bogey on the par-3 11th. And it's worth nothing that McIlroy played the week before he won three of his four majors - the Scottish Open ahead of his 2014 victory at Royal Liverpool, and the Bridgestone Invitational the week before the PGA Championship he won in 2012 at Kiawah Island and in 2014 at Valhalla. That belonged to Tyrrell Hatton, his fellow Englishman, who lost to Rafa Cabrera Bello to set up a three-man playoff of stroke play involving Charles Howell III.

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