Round of 16 set for Match Play: Rory advances, Spieth heads out

Saturday Preview — World Golf Championships – Cadillac Match Play — TPC Harding Park, San Francisco, California —

After three days of Group Play at the World Golf Championships – Cadillac Match Play, 16 players advanced into the Round of 16 set for Saturday morning at TPC Harding Park.

Eight matches of single-elimination play with bring the field down to the Quarterfinals, who will be played Saturday afternoon. The Semi-Finals will be hosted Sunday morning followed by the Championship and Consolation matches.

Several surprises highlighted Friday’s Day Three action as only five of the Top 16 seeds emerged from their Group Play. World No. 2 Jordan Spieth was sent home by 42-year-old Lee Westwood. Westwood rallied with a chip-in on No. 16 and then birdie-2 on the 17th hole to convert a 2-UP victory over the Masters champion.

In the Round of 16, Westwood plays European Tour rising star Danny Willett, a winner at the Nedbank last December. Westwood, who won in Asia just last week, was 3-0 in his Group Play. At 27th in the Official World Golf Ranking, Westwood is the best-ranked player remaining on his side of the bracket. He was a 50-to-1 betting pick at to start the week. Only two others ranked better than 40th are alive on his side of the draw — Hunter Mahan (32nd in the world and 3-0 in his Group Play with blow out victories) and Brendan Grace (39th in the world).

On the other side of the draw, five of the Top 16 seeds advanced including Rory McIlroy, who rallied with late birdies at the 17th and 18th holes to push FedEx Cup Billy Horschel into extra holes late Friday. McIlroy won the match and advanced on the 20th hole.

Rory plays Hideki Matsuyama Saturday morning at 11:14 .m. local time in a battle of players who were 3-0 in Group Play. The winner of that match play takes on the winner between Paul Casey (3-0 after a comeback victory Friday) and Charl Schwartzel.

Other advancing into Saturday includes Jim Furyk, J.B. Holmes, Rickie Fowler and Louis Oosthuizen.

Other Golf News:

  • Brooke Henderson, the 17-year-old Canadian, is at it again. Henderson shot 65 Friday to take the overnight lead at 8-under at the LPGA Tour’s Volunteers of American North Texas Shootout. She plays with Inbee Park and Juli Inkster — both a shot back — Saturday in round three action.
  • Michael Allen (6-under) co-leads the Champions Tour’s Insperity Invitational in Houston after 18 holes alongside Marco Dawson. Joe Durant, Colin Montgomerie and Jeff Maggert are a shot back.
  • Long-shot underdogs including Willett and Tommy Fleetwood — both 125-1 betting picks advanced into the weekend of Match Play. John Senden and Marc Leishman — both at 150-1 selections — also emerged from Group Play. Senden takes on Mahan Saturday, while Leishman goes against Gary Woodland.
  • Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter — two of the traditional power house players in match play — struggled at TPC Harding Park. They combined for a 1-5 record. Last year’s finalists Jason Day and Victor Dubuisson were both 0-3 this week. Adam Scott and Jimmy Walker were non-factors at 0-3.