Sat, Mar 24, 2018 - Page 16 News List

No repeat title for Dustin Johnson at WGC Match Play

Reuters

Defending champion Dustin Johnson will not advance to the knockout phase of the World Golf Championship-Dell Match Play after suffering a second straight defeat in Texas on Thursday.

After losing his opening match to Austrian Bernd Wiesberger on Wednesday, the world No. 1 slumped to a 4 and 3 defeat by Canadian Adam Hadwin at Austin Country Club.

Spaniard Jon Rahm, the beaten finalist last year, is another player making an early exit after failing to win for the second day in a row, but Rory McIlroy bounced back from an opening loss to beat Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela 2 and 1.

The four times major champion could still win his group, but needed to beat Brian Harman of the US yesterday.

World No. 4 Jordan Spieth remained perfect with a 4 and 2 win over China’s Li Haotong.

Johnson never led against Hadwin, who was surprised by his opponent’s lackluster form.

“I played extremely solid all day,” Hadwin told the Golf Channel. “I made the putts from five to seven feet when I needed to for par to keep the momentum on my side. I really expected Dustin to play a lot better than he did. I think everybody did coming in this week. Just a few putts he missed and here we are. I kept putting the pressure on him. He needed to play well in order to come back.”

Hadwin was due to face Wiesberger yesterday, while Johnson was taking on Kevin Kisner, who still had a chance of topping the group and being among the 16 players to advance to the knockout phase.

Meanwhile, Rahm was beaten 1-up by Chez Reavie of the US, a result which sealed the Spaniard’s fate following his halve with Keegan Bradley on Wednesday.

Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat leads the group after beating Bradley 1-up.

Spieth enjoyed his second straight win, but was not assured of winning his group as Patrick Reed was also 2-0-0 after beating South African Charl Schwartzel 1-up.

Spieth and Reed were to meet yesterday to determine who would advance.

World No. 2 Justin Thomas also scored a second straight win, beating Patton Kizzire 3 and 1, and was due to meet Francesco Molinari yesterday.

The Italian also won his opening two games.

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