Tiger Woods met his match Saturday in the Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas, and it wasn’t Rory McIlroy.
Lucas Bjerregaard delivered the clutch shots so often seen from Woods in their quarterfinal match. He holed a 30-foot eagle putt to tie the match on the par-5 16th. He holed a 12-foot birdie putt that snapped hard to the right at the end on No. 17, knowing Woods was in tight for a certain birdie.
And on the final hole, Woods blinked first.
His lob wedge from a fluffy lie in the rough came out soft, short and in a bunker. Given a chance to send the match to overtime, Woods missed a 4-foot putt.
“It’s a shame it had to end the way it did,” Bjerregaard said. “Our match didn’t deserve that. But I’m happy to be on the winning side.”
Bjerregaard considers Woods his golfing hero, and he used to take his book to the range in Denmark with hopes of copying his swing. He never could get it just right, though the 27-year-old Dane showed plenty of Woods’ mettle.
Equally surprising was how Woods won earlier Saturday against McIlroy. McIlroy was on the verge of squaring the match on the 16th hole when he had a short iron for his second shot into the par-5 16th. He made 7 and Woods closed him out on the next hole.
McIlroy was so angry he walked briskly away into a cart, and wouldn’t make eye contact on his way to the car.
Bjerregaard, who won his first European Tour title last fall at St. Andrews in the Dunhill Links, next faces Matt Kuchar on Sunday morning in the semifinals. Kuchar earned a 2-up victory over Sergio Garcia that was not without controversy.
Garcia had an 8-foot putt to win a hole and left it 4 inches short, a frustrating miss. He casually back-handed the next one and missed, only to learn Kuchar never conceded the putt.
Garcia fell 3 down against Kuchar, rallied late to pull within one hole but needed a birdie on the 18th to send the match into extra holes. He missed the green, chipped 25 feet long and conceded the match.
British Open champion Francesco Molinari steamrolled his way into the semifinals with a 6-and-5 victory over Kevin Na. Molinari, at No. 7 the only player from the top 20 remaining, has played only 73 holes in five matches.
Kevin Kisner won three straight holes late to flip his match in a 2-and-1 victory over Louis Oosthuizen.
PGA Tour: Graeme McDowell one-putted the first 15 greens and shot his second straight 8-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead in the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Winless since 2016, the 39-year-old major champion from Northern Ireland had a 15-under 201 total. He opened with a 73. Chris Stoud was second, also shooting 64. He eagled the par-5 fourth and has a streak of 41 holes without a bogey.
LPGA Tour: In Carlsbad (San Diego County), Inbee Park curled in an 18-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th for her second straight 5-under 67 and the third-round lead in the Kia Classic, the final event before the major ANA Inspiration. Winless in a full calendar year, the seven-time major champion from South Korea had a one-stroke advantage over Nasa Hataoka.
European Tour: Julian Suri and Callum Shinkwin share a two-shot lead at the Indian Open after a dramatic finish to the third round in New Delhi. Shinkwin shot a 4-under 68 before Suri (71) sent a terrible tee shot into a hazard on the par-5 18th, leading to a double bogey for the American. That left both players at 11-under 205.
PGA Tour Champions: Kevin Sutherland made a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th for a 3-under 69 and a three-stroke lead in the Rapiscan Systems Classic in Biloxi, Miss. Tied for the first-round lead with Marco Dawson after a 65, Sutherland had a 10-under 134 total at Fallen Oak. Dawson was second after a 72 in the windy round.
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