5 surprises from Day 1 of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

March 27, 2019

The second World Golf Championships event of the year is off and running. The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is being contested deep in the heart of Texas at Austin Country Club. Tiger Woods is in the field for the first time since 2013, and Bubba Watson will attempt to defend his title — more on that below.

Here are the five biggest surprises from Day 1.

Lucas Bjerregaard beat Justin Thomas

Bjerregaard — the event’s No. 50 seed — took down JT, who came in as No. 5, by a score of 3&2.

Thomas had an early lead, going 2-up after the first three holes, but then Bjerregaard put the pedal to the metal, making five birdies in 10 holes to go 4-up with five holes to play, eventually closing out the match on the 16th hole, 3-up.

 

Jim Furyk beat Jason Day

Jim Furyk’s ageless golf continued on Wednesday, as the 48-year-old took down World No. 13 Jason Day.

Day started off strong — 3-up after eight holes — but Furyk fought back, winning Nos. 9, 10 and 11 to get back to all square. Furyk took the lead with a 23-foot birdie on No. 15, while Day answered with a birdie of his own on No. 16 to get back to all square with two holes to play.

Day three-putted the par-3 17th to drop a shot to Furyk, who then birdied the 18th for good measure to take the match 2-up.

Kevin Na beat Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson’s title defense didn’t have an ideal start on Wednesday. After Watson controlled much of the match for holes 3 – 13, Na fought back to get back to all square on No. 14. The two players traded blows and headed into 18 all square. Then the real drama began.

Watson hit his drive into the greenside bunker and had a good look at an up-and-down birdie — at least in theory. Unfortunately, Watson didn’t get out on his first attempt, and his ball rolled all the way back into his foot marks.

Clearly agitated by the bad luck, he didn’t take a whole lot of time to try to execute his third shot. After making a mighty swipe, he picked up his ball before it rolled all the way back down into the bunker, thereby conceding both the hole and the match to Na, who still had a 10-footer left for birdie.

Brooks Koepka is hoping to steal the spotlight from Tiger Woods at Bethpage.
Getty Images

Brooks Koepka settled for a tie

Brooks Koepka never trailed on the front nine, and was 1-up on his opponent, Englishman Tom Lewis, when the pair made the turn.

But Lewis hung on, and went 1-up on Koepka when Koepka bogeyed the par-4 14th. Koepka got the match back to all square with a par on No. 16 when Lewis bogeyed, then Koepka stuffed it to a few feet from the hole on the par-3 17th to set up an easy birdie and go 1-up with one hole remaining.

But then it was Lewis’s turn to be clutch. He hit his approach to three-and-a-half feet from the hole on No. 18 and drained the birdie to bring the match back to all square.

Lewis is currently ranked 63rd in the world, while Koepka is ranked third.

Patrick Reed lost to Andrew Putnam

Though he’s been struggling lately — making headlines last week for his emergency sessions with swing guru David Leadbetter — golf fans still expect “Captain America” to dominate his matches. Alas, Wednesday was not Patrick Reed’s day.

Reed only won two holes against Andrew Putnam, who closed out the match on the 16th hole, 3-up.

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