Wednesday, 23 March 2016
Groups 1-8 - Best of the Reaction

Andy Sullivan held off a spirited fightback from Bernd Wiesberger to win an all-European clash 3 and 2 on day one of the WGC-Dell Match Play.

The duo have won five European Tour titles between them and are both contenders to make their Ryder Cup debuts when Darren Clarke's men face the United States at Hazeltine in September.

They have tasted match play success already this season helping Europe beat Asia in the EURASIA CUP presented by DRB-HICOM and put on an entertaining display at Austin Country Club in their Group 16 clash.

Three bogeys in four holes had the Austrian three down after five holes and when Sullivan birdied the eighth, the advantage would be four at the turn. Another birdie followed on the tenth before Wiesberger sandwiched birdies on the 11th and 13th with a chip-in eagle on the 12th to narrow the gap.

But a bogey was to follow and Sullivan closed out victory.

"I played really solid out there," he said.

There's not much you can do about birdie and eagle. As much as it felt like I let my foot off the gas, I think it speaks for itself - Andy Sullivan

"I'm looking forward to my game tomorrow and trying to get ahead in that one."

Louis Oosthuizen was also a winner in Group 16 as he fought back three times to beat Matt Jones 2 and 1.

"I started playing really well from 12," said the South African. "I started hitting the ball nicely and made a nice long birdie putt on 14 to go one ahead."

Frenchman Victor Dubuisson, a runner-up at this event in 2014, won his first match in Group 1 3 and 2 against Justin Thomas but feels he will have to improve against Jordan Spieth on Thursday after making just two birdies.

"I think I will have to upgrade my game tomorrow, if I want to have a chance," he said. "I think against Jordan, par isn't going to be enough to win the hole."

Spieth overcame Welshman Jamie Donaldson 3 and 2 in his opener.

In Group 9, Patrick Reed was taken all the way after an excellent fightback by Daniel Berger but managed to win his match by one hole.

Reed made three birdies in his first four holes to go three up and still held that advantage as he stood on the 13th tee. But a birdie from Berger, followed by another on the 17th, meant Reed needed one of his own on the last for a half.

"It's one of those formats I absolutely love," he said. "You can go out and you have 18 holes to go prove yourself and take down your opponent. It's a lot easier taking down one guy than it is 150-something guys in the field."

In the other Group 9 match, Phil Mickelson won four holes in a row from the sixth in a 5 and 4 victory over Matthew Fitzpatrick.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat twice fought back from two down and won six holes out of ten from the seventh to beat Jimmy Walker 2 and 1 in Group 8, where Robert Streb beat Dustin Johnson 3 and 2.

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