Austin, Texas – For the majority of three days in the Austin Country Club, Tiger Woods had a mood of disappointment. An incredibly clear course. Indifferent placement. Suspicious decisions.
Then Woods pulled out a 83-yard wedge on Friday afternoon, which changed everything. 4 and 2 victories over Patrick Cantlay and – along with 6 and 4 loss of Brandt Snedeker to Aaron Wise – winning his WGC-Dell Technology Match Play Championship group.
He will face Rory McIulroy in a round of 16 on Saturday morning, with the format being made directly to the final match on Sunday. McIlroy advanced from his group with 4 and 2 victories over Matthew Fitpatrick.
"It's exciting," said McIlroy for a meeting with Woods. "It's exciting for the tournament and it will be exciting for us, I feel good about my game." I played well throughout the year, "I'm going to be doing this this week."
"It's definitely going to be one of those where I have to go there. to stick to my game plan and not to really watch what she's doing until it's over. After weekends, Tiger returns to what's probably going to be his last start with Masters, then we'll follow him WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and all the steps leading to this point.
Woods and McIlroy are very familiar with each other although they have never competed in the Rider Cup or this event but were in the same group 18 times in official PGA tournaments with Woods firing with a lower score at nine times and tied three times. (They were also matched five times during the European Tour, with McIlroy having a better result three times.)
Among them was the last round of the last September tour in Atlanta, where Woods shot 71 on 74 McIlroy and captured 80 you are PGA
"I have to fight better than last year in Atlanta," said Makilroy. "I had not played much this day."
Cantlay was far less familiar when he played only one round with Woods. And although there were several key points in the Woods-Cantlay match, the eagle hole was enormous as it helped Woods erase a 2-down deficit through 8 holes and went 2-up with only five to play.
"I put myself to make sure I was pushing him on that blow if he was going to do it," said Woods, who hit 222 yards of the hole that was guarded by the water on his left – and where he hit him against Snedeker in Thursday, he took a punishment. "" I saw his hand go to the driver several times, and they talked about it. "" And I put him in the fairway and thought he might have sneaked, but in the rough back, but as they looked the golf ball seemed to be in the fairway I knew I had to put it there to have the least chance of 3 to make it go and that's a little bonus. "Woods uses a 60-degree sand wedge of 83 yards to land the ball approximately with a high pin, then saw it spin back and leaked into the hole for two, causing big cheers and a few fists from the three-time winner of this tournament.
Cantlay, 27, a PGA Tour winner of the 19th place in the world, making birds on third, fifth and sixth holes to go up one. He then led 2 lead in spite of a difficult drop on a wagon trail that left him in trouble just to see Woods skip the green, hit a faint chipset and skip the 6-foot to make a bag.
But Cantley would not have won another hole by making a big mistake by entering the penalty area of the ninth descent.
"He has a bad vacation at 9," said Woods. there, he caught the hill that was in danger. And I managed to win this hole, take a little momentum in the back of nine.
"There's a big difference between 1 down and 2 down, for some reason, it just seems like winning a few holes, you can suddenly stand up against the attempts to go back to all the squares, you fight, you fight. big enough to have a little momentum to the back nine. "
Woods equalized the match by making a 20 foot for a bird on the 11th, going forward when he birdied the par-5 12- while Cantlay can not match. Then came the eagle to the 13th and the other bird on the 14th, with Woods playing six holes from the 11th to the 16th in 6th under par
"I'm grateful for form "So I have a chance to play tomorrow morning and I hope I can play well enough to make progress."
Woods who went with 2 : 1 in his group, Wise had to defeat Snedeker to make progress Woods would go into a playoff with a sudden death with Snedeker
But after he took down Woods on Thursday, Snedeker lost two early holes with bogeys and made only two birdies in his round and was 3 down to 10 before the match was over. on the 14th.
Woods said he never paid attention to the other game until it was almost over, because "I had to take care of my own game. It does not matter if I lose the match. & # 39;