(March 26, 2016) — Phil Mickelson loves match play and he’s a fan of the host course, Austin (TX) Country Club, but the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play hasn’t loved him back. He didn’t make it out of pool play in the debut event last year. This time around things looked much more promising.
Seeded 14th, Phil was paired with No. 63 Si Woo Kim in the first of three matches in the opening round of pool play. He took the lead with a birdie on the second hole and was 4-up through No. 7 with his fourth birdie before winning 5-up with his sixth birdie in 15 holes.
It was more of the same in the second round against Daniel Berger, when Phil birdied the first two holes, was 4-up after nine and went on to win 5-up on a concession at the 14th. Ditto the third match with J.B. Holmes: 2-up after two holes, 4-up through 9 and a 6&5 win after 13 on a windy day.
“I think it’s a fun challenge,” said Phil. “If you hit some good shots, you can be rewarded. There are some birdie holes out here, but there are also some difficult holes.”
Phil had played 42 holes in three days, had won 18 of them, nine with birdies, and never trailed after a first-hole halve in the first match.
The tables turned in his quarterfinal match when Bill Hass birdied the first, was 3-up through nine and won 2-up after Phil made no bogeys but won only two holes with birdies.
“Bill played some great golf,” said Phil. “I had some opportunities to match him on a number of holes and didn’t do it, couldn’t get the putts to fall as they had been earlier.
“But I’m playing well and I’m looking forward to Houston and the Masters, playing my best and getting sharp. If I can do that it’ll give me an opportunity to win the Masters.”