Johnson v Johnson in knockout clash at Match Play
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[March 25, 2017]
(Reuters) - It will be Johnson v
Johnson as world number one Dustin takes on double major champion
Zach in a round-of-16 clash at the WGC-Dell Match Play in Texas on
And five-times major champion Phil Mickelson will meet in-form
Australian Marc Leishman as the World Golf Championships event
enters the knockout phase after completing the round-robin phase at
Austin Country Club.
Big-hitting Dustin Johnson emerged with a perfect 3-0-0 record,
wrapping up the group phase with a 5&3 shellacking of fellow
American Jimmy Walker on Friday.
He said he fancied his chances of beating namesake and compatriot
Zach, not because of the world rankings but because of his form.
“No matter what ranking I am, I feel I should win,” he told
reporters. “I feel like I’ve got a bit of an advantage, just because
I’m playing so well.
“Today I made a bunch of birdies, no bogeys and usually in match
play you do that, you win. Just because I'm number one I don't get a
pass. I've still got to play really well.”
Zach Johnson, meanwhile, said he would relish the challenge of
taking on the game’s hottest player.
“I think his time is about done. Physically, he is not looking
great,” he said, tongue planted firmly in cheek, before turning more
“Hopefully I’ve got my A game. I need it. I expect nothing less out
of Dustin. He does things with the golf ball only a small percentage
can do out here.”
Mickelson finished group play in style at 3-0-0 with a 6&5 thumping
of fellow American J.B. Holmes.
Leishman was given a scare before winning his group in a three-way
playoff with Englishman Lee Westwood and American Pat Perez after
they all finished with the same 2-1-0 record in their group.
"(I'm) having a good week or so," Australian Leishman, who won the
Arnold Palmer Invitational last Sunday, said.
Asked for his thoughts about facing Mickelson, known
for his light-hearted trash talking, the laid-back Leishman sounded
[to top of second column]
Phil Mickelson of the United States plays against J.B. Homes of the
United States during the third round of the World Golf Classic -
Dell Match Play golf tournament at Austin Country Club. Erich
Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
"I'll have to work on my trash talking I guess," Leishman said.
"I've got to keep hitting it the way I have been and make some
Among other round-of-16 match-ups will be Spaniard Jon Rahm versus
American Charles Howell III, Englishman Paul Casey against Japan's
Hideto Tanihara and American Bubba Watson against Englishman Ross
Rahm won his group by beating countryman Sergio Garcia 6&4.
"I'd rather not play a fellow Spaniard but luckily whoever won today
was going to make it through," Rahm said.
Howell topped his group after an eventful three-way playoff with
Englishman Tyrrell Hatton and Spain's Rafa Cabrera-Bello.
Hatton was eliminated at the first extra hole after incurring a
two-stroke penalty for putting without replacing his ball after he
had caused it to move fractionally. Howell finally emerged
victorious four holes later.
The round-of-16 on Saturday morning will be followed immediately
afterwards by the quarter-finals.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Larry
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