Victor Perez is hoping to build on his impressive debut performance at the WGC – Dell Technologies Match Play that saw him defeat Marc Leishman, Sungjae Im, Robert MacIntyre and Sergio Garcia on his way to a fourth-place finish.
“It was a great week overall,” Victor reflected on his highest ever result in a WGC.
“It was fun to play match play again. It’s not something I’ve had a chance to do in a little while, but I felt fortunate because I was able to draw on my experiences in events like the BKO, GolfSixes and the Challenge Tour Match Play 9s.
“It’s a format I really enjoy. I enjoy being in these big matches and the strategy aspect of each match, each hole, each shot.”
His love of this format was evident from his first-round win against Marc Leishman, but after defeat to Russell Henley on day two, Perez needed a second win to make it through a group that were all left on one point heading into Friday’s matches.
The Frenchman quickly stamped his authority on his match against Sungjae Im, eventually sealing a 2&1 victory to see him top his group and set up a Round of 16 battle with Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre.
Dominating early in the game against MacIntyre with three birdies in his first four holes, Perez’s first match on Saturday showcased some of the best golf he played all week on his way to a 5&4 victory – something he put down to feeling comfortable.
“I think this morning was probably the best golf that I've played all week,” Perez said after his win against MacIntyre.
“It was definitely an element to where I was comfortable playing against Bob, we have known each other since the Challenge Tour, I think we have a good friendship, it was kind of a match that I felt like more comfortable than the previous three and I felt like I played my best golf this morning.”
He then went on to secure arguably his biggest victory of the week over Spain’s Sergio Garcia, who had made it through his own group stage thanks to a hole in one against Lee Westwood on one of the play-off holes, but later said that fatigue had started to set-in.
“It obviously just becomes a long day, you are up pretty early, you have a short break and you have to, you sit, which might not be the greatest thing, you get a little bit sluggish and then you have to get back,” he said at the time.
Reflecting after Sunday's play, Perez compared the mental energy needed for every match as akin to the feeling of the final day of a stroke play tournament.
“It’s a really long week in that if you get to the final day you end up playing seven matches in five days
“I said it earlier in the week, but each match feels like the Sunday of a stroke play tournament, so looking back on the week, you think about it, it really does feel like you play seven Sunday’s over five days.”
Perez’s semi-final against eventual winner Billy Horschel was a tussle over the front-nine as both players won three holes to see the match reach the turn all-square, but Horschel quickly assumed the lead from the 10th and would go on to win 3&2.
In the end, Perez would also fall 2&1 to Matt Kuchar in the play-off for 3rd and 4th place, but was keen to take the positives from a week where he competed in a field of the best players in the world and got down to the final four.
“As players we work hard to get ourselves in these big moments.
"It was a fun week overall and it was also a week I’ll take some good learning from and build on going forward”
After his fourth place finish, Perez has now reached a career-high of 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking.