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Jon Rahm bounces back with comfortable win on day two in Austin

Jon Rahm bounces back with comfortable win on day two in Austin

Jon Rahm stormed to a 4&3 victory over Keith Mitchell on the second day of the 2023 WGC - Dell Technologies Match Play to pick up his first point in Pool 2 and keep his hopes of progressing alive.

The World Number Two bounced back from Wednesday's 2&1 defeat to Rickie Fowler in style, going in front at the very first hole before pulling well clear of American Mitchell on the back nine by winning three successive holes from the 11th. 

That put him 5UP with five holes remaining, and although Mitchell won the 14th to keep the contest going, a tie at the 15th ended the match early.

With Billy Horschel beating Fowler 3&2 on Thursday, that group remains wide open going into the final round of pool matches.

Horschel, who won this event in 2021, tops the Pool on 1.5 points ahead of his heavyweight clash with Rahm on Friday at the 64-man match play event in Austin.

Rahm insisted he remained focused on golf rather than group permutations on Thursday, despite knowing a defeat against Mitchell would have ended his challenge.

"The scenarios are so many that it is way easier if you just focus on what you can control, which is the shot in hand," he said.

"I did a really good job today. Hopefully I can play tee to green as well as I have the last two days."

Horschel is expecting a "great match" on Friday.

He said: "It's going to be a great match. He's been playing great for a long time now. There's a reason why he was Number One in the world not too long ago. We know what Jon has done in this game of golf.

"I've got to show up. I've got to play really good golf to have a chance to beat him, and we'll see what happens tomorrow, but I'm just happy I'm able to control my own destiny, and if I can get a win tomorrow, then it looks like I'll be moving on."

Two-time DP World Tour winner Kurt Kitayama also secured his first win of the week on day two, beating South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout 2&1.

Kitayama edged a tight contest, turning a one-hole deficit into a two-hole lead with three straight wins from the 13th.

Tony Finau beat Poland's Adrian Meronk 4&3 in the other Pool 10 match to make it two wins from two.

Kitayama was pleased with his performance, saying: "Hit it really well and felt in control of my game all day. Christiaan was a tough battle."

In Pool 7 Ryan Fox was beaten 2&1 by Andrew Putnam - who tops the group with two points - while Harris English hammered Will Zalatoris 5&3.

In Pool 15 Sepp Straka suffered a second defeat in a row, losing 4&3 to Davis Thompson, and Cameron Young beat Corey Conners 1UP.

Major Champion Shane Lowry lost 4&3 to Mackenzie Hughes, with the Irishman unable to fight back from a five-hole deficit after seven holes despite reducing his arrears to three early on the back nine.

In Pool 12's other match, American Taylor Montgomery beat countryman Jordan Spieth 2&1.

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