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Friday's five key matches: WGC - Dell Technologies Match Play

Friday's five key matches: WGC - Dell Technologies Match Play

The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play reaches the conclusion of the round-robin play on Friday, with the top points winner in each group progressing to the weekend’s final 16 knockout stages. Here are five matches worth watching and the scenarios which could emerge…

Jon Rahm Patrick Reed-1175917024

Group 1: Jon Rahm vs Patrick Reed

World Number One Jon Rahm is in control of his own destiny ahead of a meeting with the already-eliminated 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed as he chases a first World Golf Championships title.

However, Reed has lost both his opening match and that means Rahm just needs to avoid defeat to progress, with Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland aiming to overhaul the Spaniard at the top of the rankings for the first time this week.

Rahm, who is yet to meet Reed in singles match play, finished runner-up on his debut appearance in Austin five years ago but has since not made the knockout phase in his subsequent two appearances.

Cameron Young, who lost to Rahm 5 & 4 on Thursday, needs to beat Sebastian Munoz and hope his countryman Reed does him a favour in the other match to force a play-off with the reigning US Open champion.

Group 5: Scottie Scheffler vs Matt Fitzpatrick

Matt Fitzpatrick will advance past the group phase at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play for the first time if he wins or ties his match against Scottie Scheffler, last year’s runner-up.

The Englishman, who has already beaten Ryder Cup teammates Tommy Fleetwood and Ian Poulter so far this week, has featured in four previous editions of the event – all since Austin Country Club became host in 2016.

Should Scheffler win, and Fleetwood overcome the already-eliminated Poulter, then a three-way play-off between those two and Fitzpatrick will take place.

But if Scheffler, already a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this season, wins and Fleetwood loses to countryman Poulter then the American and Fitzpatrick will contest a sudden-death play-off.

Richard Bland-1387351835

Group 9: Lee Westwood vs Richard Bland

Making his debut in the 64-man field at the Austin-based WGC event, Richard Bland began his campaign with a half point against Bryson DeChambeau before emerging with a full point on the final green against Talor Gooch on Thursday.

The 49-year-old now faces a decisive final game of the group phase against Lee Westwood, who finished with eagle-birdie-par to knock out DeChambeau in another encounter that went to the last.

Bland will advance to the knockout stages over the weekend with a victory and in turn maintain his quest for a place in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking which would guarantee him another debut at the Masters Tournament.

Westwood will advance with a victory if Gooch suffers defeat against DeChambeau, but if they both win then they will go to a play-off.

Billy Horschel

Group 12: Billy Horschel vs Thomas Pieters

Billy Horschel has begun his title defence in impressive fashion, winning both his opening matches to underline his match play credentials.

The American, who is bidding to become just the third player in history to win this event on multiple occasions, will advance if he avoids defeat against Thomas Pieters.

Belgium’s Pieters, who won his maiden Rolex Series title at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January, and Min Woo Lee will force a three-way play-off alongside Horschel if they win.

If Pieters wins and fellow DP World Tour player Australian Lee ties or loses against the already-eliminated Tom Hoge, it will force a play-off between Pieters and Horschel.

Group 16: Brooks Koepka vs Shane Lowry

Shane Lowry kept his hopes alive of progressing to the weekend’s play after surviving a late scare against South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen with a 2 Up victory on Thursday.

The 2020 Open champion first played in the event back in 2013 when it was then a single-elimination tournament held in Arizona.

The Irishman will set up a play-off with four-time major winner Brooks Koepka unless Harold Varner III beats Erik van Rooyen, who is already eliminated, which would force a three-way play-off.

World Number 20 Koepka, whose previous best in the WGC event came in 2016 with a run to the quarter-finals, has recorded assured wins in both his opening group-phase matches.

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