Watson denies Thomas No.1, advances to WGC Match-Play final

Arnold Nichols
March 26, 2018

Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson denied Justin Thomas the world number one ranking by defeating his USA compatriot 3&2 in a semi-final on Sunday at the WGC Match-Play Championship.

And right when it looked as though Spieth might still have a chance, Reed buried him with a 40-foot birdie putt from behind the 17th green for a 2-and-1 victory in the Dell Technologies Match Play that sent Reed into the weekend and Spieth searching for answers.

Since defending champion Dustin Johnson is already out, Thomas could rise to No. 1 in the world if he wins this week.

Watson stretched his lead to 7 up a hole later as Kisner drilled a 20-footer to save par at the par-4 10th, only to have Watson make an 11-foot birdie putt on top of his competitor.

Having missed from five feet to lose that par five, he squandered an opportunity to win the next hole from slightly further away. "I thought that was unbelievable that [2017 champion Dustin Johnson] did it past year", Thomas said.

The championship match will commence after the semifinal matches are finished. "As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing".

"I feel like my game is in good shape". I only made one over-par hole and made five or six birdies and was in the fairway and on the green a lot.

The 21-year-old Indian, who took the reigning Masters champion, Sergio Garcia to the 18th hole, lost 3&1 to Schauffele. "I'm going out there this afternoon, and I was like, 'Man, I have got a chance of doing this, too.' Then I missed a 3-footer on 2 and shot that out the window".

"But at the end of the day, obviously I didn't play very well, but I definitely didn't give him the match. I played solid and he didn't make any putts".

Ian Poulter paid a big if not quite deserved compliment to Louis Oosthuizen after beating the South African at the WGC-Dell Match Play on Saturday.

McIlory was knocked out at the group stage for the second consecutive year after winning just one his three matches.

Garcia, who conducted a teleconfe rence with the media on Tuesday from an Austin, Texas, hospital, 90 minutes after his wife Angela went into labor, had to wait almost 17 more hours before their daughter was born.

Spieth made a poor start, double-bogeying the first two holes after losing balls to find himself two down before halving the deficit with a birdie at the fifth.

Asked if the world rankings situation had affected his focus, Thomas admitted: "I haven't had such a hard time not thinking about something so much, and that really sucked".

Bubba Watson-who took care of Brian Harman in the round of 16-broke an all-square deadlock on the 10th hole and picked up serious steam on the back nine.

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