Charl Schwartzel made an encouraging start in his Group 15 decider before Brandt Snedeker fought back at the WGC-Dell Match Play at Austin Country Club.
Going into day three, both men knew victory would earn them a place into the last 16 and the South African went in front after Snedeker conceded the opening hole.
A birdie on the third saw Schwartzel go two up before the American birdied the sixth and poured in a 20-footer to save par on the seventh. Snedeker would then edge ahead after Schwartzel bogeyed the eighth and ninth.
Jason Day advanced to the last 16 after Paul Casey withdrew with illness in their Group 2 match.
Casey had been two up at one stage but a par and a birdie on the fifth and sixth saw Day level the match. The Englishman would then withdraw from the match, with the World Number Two advancing.
Thongchai Jaidee, who needed Casey to beat Day to force a play-off against the latter, led by two through seven holes against Graeme McDowell as their match became a dead rubber.
Justin Rose was another man in need of a win in Group 7 but trailed Matt Kuchar by one hole.
The World Number Seven suffered two early setbacks on the fifth and sixth as he missed close-range putts with Kuchar making birdie on the sixth to extend his lead to two.
Although Rose trimmed the deficit to one with a birdie on the eighth, the Englishman remained one down after 11.
Elsewhere, Anirban Lahiri led by one hole in his dead rubber against Argentinian Fabian Gomez.
Race to Dubai leader Danny Willett stormed into a three-hole lead against Group 10 leader Brooks Koepka. With Willett already eliminated, the Englishman could send Koepka into a play-off against Billy Horschel, whose match with Jaco Van Zyl was all square.