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Monday, 01 April 2019
Francesco Molinari and Lucas Bjerregaard  (Getty Images)
Francesco Molinari and Lucas Bjerregaard (Getty Images)

The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play always produces great drama and 2019 was no different as Kevin Kisner won his first World Golf Championships title at Austin Country Club.

His victory over Matt Kuchar in the final also brought him a first European Tour win and a host of European Tour members put in impressive performances in Texas.

Here, we take a look at some of the main stories from what is always one of the most eventful weeks on the Race Dubai.

Brilliant Bjerregaard bursts through

Ever since coming through the Qualifying School in 2013, followers of the European Tour have known that big hitting Dane Lucas Bjerregaard is a major talent.

A strong finish to the 2015 season put him on the map but he would have to wait two more years to claim a maiden win at the Portugal Masters and last season he held off the challenge of Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton to win the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

He arrived in Austin at his third WGC event as the 50th seed but upset Justin Thomas on day one before halving with Keegan Bradley and taking down Matt Wallace.

His exploits were not done there, however, as he beat Major Champion Henrik Stenson in the last 16 before edging 18 time WGC winner and all time great Tiger Woods in the quarter-finals.

He lost out to Kuchar in the semi-finals en route to finishing fourth but Bjerregaard had truly arrived on the world stage.

Molinari's match play masterclass

Francesco Molinari famously claimed a perfect haul of five points at last year's Ryder Cup and he continued that stellar record in head to head golf in Austin.

Moliwood was born as he won four matches in a row alongside Fleetwood and then he beat Phil Mickelson in the singles, claiming the vital point that brought the Cup back to Europe.

If that wasn't proof enough he was a match play magician, Molinari swept through the group stages in Texas, hammering Satoshi Kodaira 5&4, beating Ryder Cup team-mate Thorbjørn Olesen 4&3, and taking care of Webb Simpson 2&1.

There was no let up on Saturday as he beat Paul Casey 5&4 and a 6&5 demolition of Kevin Na meant he had won ten match play contests in a row.

He lost to Kevin Kisner to end that streak but after beating Bjerregaard in the third place match, nobody would bet against the Italian going on a long run again.

Kisner's redemption

There is no good way to lose but there are certainly some very bad ways to do it.

In last season's final in Austin, Kisner was five down after five holes to Bubba Watson and trailed by six at the turn. The crowd were on his side and a lengthy putt brought huge cheers and a won hole at the 11th but Watson claimed a 7&6 victory.

"I don't know what was going on," he said. "It was just pitiful. I couldn't hit anywhere close to where I was trying."

Fast forward 12 months and there were no pity cheers and no pitiful golf from Kisner. He may have lost his first match to Ian Poulter but after that he did not put a foot wrong, taking down Tony Finau, Keith Mitchell, Li Haotong, Louis Oosthuizen, Molinari and Kuchar.

After his nightmare on Sunday in 2018, you'd be hard pushed to find a more popular winner.

Woods' wonder shots

With 18 wins, it's clear that Tiger Woods enjoys World Golf Championships events but in 2019 he has taken his shot making to another level.

His cut out of a bunker and around a tree with a nine iron won February's European Tour Shot of the Month and he may well be in contention again in March.

Against Brandt Snedeker at the tenth on Thursday and with his ball under a bush, Woods dropped to one knee and played left handed with the toe facing down to to find the green.

A stunning bunker shot on the 15th followed and then on day three against Patrick Cantlay, the Big Cat holed out from 81 yards for an eagle two at the 13th.

It's good to have you back, Tiger.

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