Match Play golf is arguably the most exciting format in the game; anyone can beat anyone and three former Challenge Tour players began their week at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in memorable fashion.
Antoine Rozner, Bob MacIntyre and Victor Perez all made their debuts at Austin Country Club and all three secured big victories in their opening matches.
Rozner bt. DeChambeau 2-UP
Class of 2019 member Rozner is a man in form with two victories in his last six worldwide starts, the latest of which came at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters which earned him a spot in this week’s field. The Frenchman was handed a first round draw against World Number Five and reigning U.S. Open Champion Bryson DeChambeau and he went into an early lead thanks to a birdie at the second to go 1-UP. He went 3-UP after birdieing the 12th hole but big-hitting DeChambeau fought back to take the match to the 18th hole just 1-down. Rozner, however, stayed calm and found a closing birdie to see out a 2-UP victory and memorable victory.
MacIntyre bt. Na 2&1
He has already showed he enjoys the big occasion and the first day of the Match Play was no exception. MacIntyre went out in the final group of the day against Kevin Na and was 1-down to the American after 12 holes. The Scot chipped in for an eagle on the 13th, won the next and then holed a bunker shot for another eagle on the 16th before seeing out victory on the 17th. He goes up against World Number One Dustin Johnson on day two.
Perez bt. Leishman 2&1
Frenchman Perez has been steadily climbing the Official World Golf Ranking for the last three years and he continues to show his prowess on the biggest stage. On day one in Texas, he twice went behind to Australia’s Marc Leishman before making the turn all square. He again went 1-down 11th but three birdies in his next five holes saw him take a commanding 2-UP lead which he turned into victory with a par at the 17th hole. His victory, however, arguably was not the highlight of his day. The birdie which extended his lead to 2-up on the 16th hole came after a scintillating driver off the deck approach to 15 feet.