The WGC-Dell Technologies MatchPlay is in full swing at the Austin Country Club in Texas. With the unique match-play format featuring 64 top-ranked golfers, the tournament is an exciting departure from most events on the pro circuit. As the last opportunity to qualify for The Masters without a PGA Tour win, the stakes are high, and players are battling for a coveted spot in the first Major of 2023.
WGC-Dell MatchPlay: The story so far
On Wednesday, the opening day of the WGC-Dell MatchPlay, eyebrows were raised when Rickie Fowler defeated Jon Rahm, the No. 2 player in the world. Rory McIlroy got off to a great start, winning against Scott Stallings 3 & 1, Sungjae Im dominated Maverick McNealy, and top seed Scottie Scheffler began his title defence with a win.
The shot of the day came from Jordan Spieth who pulled off this majestic (or, as he later suggested, lucky) chip on the 15th to beat Mackenzie Hughes:
Key players to watch at the WGC-Dell MatchPlay
As the action heats up at the WGC-Dell Match Play, let's take a closer look at the noteworthy performers.
The US star managed to pull off the biggest upset on day one by defeating FedExCup leader and World No. 2 Jon Rahm. If Fowler can continue this momentum and reach the quarter-finals, he will qualify for the Masters. It won't be easy; his day two opponent, Billy Horschel, won the MatchPlay in 2021.
Despite being 4-down with five holes to play on day one, Bradley made a remarkable comeback to tie his match against Denny McCarthy. Bradley's resilience and determination will make him tough to beat as the competition progresses.
The Korean closed out his match against Maverick McNealy with an 8-and-6 victory on Wednesday, the biggest winning margin in the tournament since 2018. McNealy struggled, but Im's steady play should put him in the spotlight over the next few days.
The World No.3 has some shiny equipment in his bag for the WGC-Dell MatchPlay, including a new putter and a revamped driver. Both helped to secure a 3-and-1 victory over Scott Stallings on Wednesday and if McIlroy can maintain this level of play, he could end the weekend with a new trophy in his collection.
As the defending WGC-Dell MatchPlay champion and recent Players champion, Scheffler is a force to be reckoned with. In a close match against Davis Riley, the World No.1 showed his grit by sinking a 13-foot putt on the 18th hole to secure a 1-up win. Don't be surprised if he's the last man standing come Sunday evening.
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