Thursday, 24 March 2016
Rory McIlroy  (Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy (Getty Images)

Defending champion Rory McIlroy was having his mettle tested for the second day in a row in Group 3 at the WGC-Dell Match Play.

The World Number Three was taken down the 18th by 64th seed Thorbjørn Olesen on Wednesday before prevailing courtesy of a bogey from the Dane, and was not having it all his own way in his second match against 46th seed Smylie Kaufman.

The Northern Irishman birdied the second to go one up but then found a bunker on the third and pulled his tee shot on the fourth to slip behind. Back-to-back McIlroy birdies on the fifth and sixth turned the match on its head again but Kaufman hit back on the tenth to level things up.

Olesen was struggling in the other Group 3 match at five down through nine holes against Kevin Na.

Shane Lowry was one up against Marcus Fraser with seven to play in Group 14 but Martin Kaymer had a day to forget, losing 8 and 6 to Zach Johnson.

In Group 10, Danny Willett and Billy Horschel were all square at the turn, with Jaco Van Zyl two down to Brooks Koepka a hole behind.

Justin Rose was all square through seven in Group 7 against Anirban Lahiri, with Matt Kuchar leading Fabian Gomez by one hole.

Both matches in Group 15 were all square with Charl Schwartzel and Charley Hoffman, and Brandt Snedeker and Danny Lee all locked together, while Byeong-hun An and Jason Dufner, along with Rickie Fowler and Scott Piercy, could not be separated in Group 5.

Jason Day showed no evidence of any back pain after his scare yesterday as he went two up through six holes against Thongchai Jaidee after driving the first and opening with an eagle.

Graeme McDowell was one up on Paul Casey after four holes in the other Group 2 clash.

In Group 12, Rafa Cabrera-Bello was one up through two holes against Kevin Kisner, while Søren Kjeldsen was two down against Hideki Matsuyama.

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