Tiger Woods advances to WGC Match Play Round of 16 to face Rory McIlroy

first_imgTiger Woods ran off a back-nine stretch of four holes in 5 under par to take control of his Friday afternoon match against Patrick Cantlay at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship and set up a tantalizing Saturday morning knockout match against Rory McIlroy at Austin Country Club.Woods, who is playing in the match play event for the first time in its current format, closed out his win, 4 and 3, but still needed help to advance to the weekend’s single-elimination Round of 16. Of course, Woods helped his own cause by catching fire on his second nine, a side that was punctuated by an eagle 2 on the par-4 13th hole where he pitched in from 82 yards out, sending the crowd into a frenzy that echoed throughout the rolling layout in Central Texas.”I saw where the ball landed (on the green) and thought it might roll off the back. I thought that 3 was going to be the number to halve the hole with [Cantlay] there, he pretty much had a guaranteed up-and-down. So I was just trying to get up there close and at least try and make him earn it with a 3 of my own, and next thing you know it falls in, so, I’ll take it.”It was the third of four straight holes won by the 14-time major winner as he moved from one down after 10 holes to leading by three after 14.The last time Woods, ranked 14th in the world, advanced to the WGC Match Play Round of 16 was in 2008, when he went on to win the event.Meantime, McIlroy moved through to Saturday morning’s marquee matchup by remaining unbeaten in group play, defeating Matthew Fitzpatrick, 4 and 2. He got it when Aaron Wise blew out Brandt Snedeker, 6 and 4, to push Woods through to the weekend’s knockout rounds.”I was fortunate to have won my match and needed other things to happen and fortunately Aaron won his match,” Woods said. Related News WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Rory McIlroy in great position after second dominating win Taking control of the match early, McIlroy — the world No. 4 — raced out to a 3-up lead through five holes. Fitzpatrick managed to cut McIlroy’s lead to 2 with five holes to play, but McIlroy immediately birdied the par-4 14th to extend his lead back to 3-up and never looked back.Next up: Woods.”It’s exciting, it’s exciting for the tournament, it’s exciting for us,” McIlroy said. “I feel good about my game. It’s going to be one of those ones where I have to stick to my game plan.”last_img