Sunday, 31 March 2019
Matt Kuchar shakes hands with Lucas Bjerregaard  (Getty Images)
Matt Kuchar shakes hands with Lucas Bjerregaard (Getty Images)

Lucas Bjerregaard's stunning run at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play came to an end as he suffered a narrow one hole defeat to Matt Kuchar in Sunday's semi-final.

The tournament debutant was never behind by more than one hole in an enthralling last four contest which Kuchar wrapped up at the 18th to set up a meeting with fellow American Kevin Kisner in the final following his 1up win against Francesco Molinari.

Bjerregaard, who is the 50th seed, made it through to the knockout stages in Austin after recording victories over World Number Five Justin Thomas and Matt Wallace and taking half a point from his other Group Five game against Keegan Bradley.

And the two time European Tour winner went from strength to strength on Saturday, storming to a 3&2 win against Henrik Stenson in their all-Scandanavian contest before beating boyhood hero Tiger Woods at the final hole of their last eight match.

The Dane trailed by a single hole at the turn against Kuchar on Sunday after failing to convert his par putt at the ninth but he levelled things up with a birdie from eight feet on the tenth.

Kuchar went one up once again at the 12th but Bjerregaard rolled in his tricky birdie putt from 23 feet on the 15th to square a very tight match.

The American took the lead with a birdie on the long 16th and only a nerveless ten foot putt from Bjerregaard prevented Kuchar from ending the contest at the 17th after he drained his birdie effort from 12 feet.

Kuchar finally secured his spot in the final after the 18th was halved in par fours but it was a week that will live long in the memory of Bjerregaard, who takes on Molinari in the third place match on Sunday afternoon.

Bjerregaard said: "It's been a great week, no matter what happens. But it stings a bit now, I've come this far, and I would have loved to have a chance in the final."

Kisner is through to the final for the second year in a row after ending Molinari's ten match winning run in a tight semi-final clash.

American Kisner, who lost to Bubba Watson in last year's final, held off a late fightback from the reigning Race to Dubai champion to secure a one hole victory.

Molinari's incredible run of match play victories began at last year's Ryder Cup where he won all five of his contests and he took that form into this week, topping his group with maximum points before beating Paul Casey and Kevin Na to set up a semi-final meeting with Kisner.

But he struggled for much of Sunday morning's match, finding himself two down after 14 holes as Kisner took advantage of some uncharacteristic mistakes from the Italian.

Molinari eventually found top gear in the closing stages of the match, reducing the deficit to one hole when Kisner got into bunker trouble at the 16th before levelling things up when he sent his tee shot to five feet at the short 17th.

That saw Molinari head to the 18th for the first time this week but he could not produce any fireworks, three putting at the last to hand Kisner a hard fought 1up win.

After the defeat, Molinari said: "We played quite well on the front nine and then just dropped too many easy shots on the back nine, unfortunately. 

"It is what it is. It's still a positive week."

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