AmericaRory McIlroy missed a shot, handled close range and locked the hole poorly in the opening match of WGC-Dell Match Play – PGA Tour event in Austin, Texas.
The tournament kicked off on March 24, in the match-match format with a bonus fund of 10.5 million USD.
On the opening day, McIlroy lost to Ian Poulter after 13 holes, at 6 & 5. According to Golf Digest, this failure is made up of five key scenarios.
On the 4th hole green, the Northern Ireland golfer lost three shots. This hole is par3 type, 185 yards long. McIlroy and Poulter both go green. McIlroy’s shadow was 4.5 meters from the target. Leading 1 Up thanks to birdie hole 1, Poulter pushed ahead due to the further distance, but the ball lacked power.
McIlroy can now learn from the opponent’s shortcomings to score the birdie to level the game. However, the Northern Irish golfer born in 1989 had both the power and the wrong way in the first kick, so the ball exceeded the hole by 1.2 meters. From that position, the ball glides on the rim of the second putt and falls only into the third putt. Poulter leads 2 Up.
Into hole 5, par4, McIlroy broke, sending balloons into the pool in a villa near the golf course while Poulter descends into the safe fairway. After the address match, McIlroy went green but lacked power, then the chip failed, so he soon lost. Poulter leads 3 Up.
At The Players Championship two weeks ago, McIlroy confessed he failed his swing because he tried to practice playing farther like Bryson DeChambeau. “I increased the ball speed, played further, but this improvement is not good for overall performance. I was struggling to find a way to fix it,” McIlroy said. He was eliminated from The Players.
At hole 10, McIlroy did not handle close range effectively. After losing hole 5, McIlroy scored two birdies in the 6-8 hole to reduce the disadvantage to 1up. Then, Poulter raised 2 up with birdie hole 9.
Into hole 10, 94 yards away, but McIlroy could not get into the green while Poulter went up to the latch, within six meters. In the third shot, the ball of the former world number one surpassed the target by three meters. Poulter slipped the birdie and then added a putt, and McIlroy added two bogey pegs. Poulter about 3 Up. To hole 11, the British golfer birdie again to 4 Up.
At 12 par5, McIlroy wasted a good shot. This golfer plays up to 404 yards, partly thanks to the downhill fairway and 80 yards above Poulter. Usually PGA Tour golfer uses a 3 wood stick when 264 yards away from the flag. But Poulter used a long iron and reached the green, 2.1 meters away.
McIlroy is closer to target but on the right side of the green. You have a birdie chance, but putt is not in. Poulter only one putt latch. At this time, Poulter leads 5 Up and McIlroy can still remove because there are six holes left. However, he himself ruined the job.
At hole 13 par4, McIlroy got lost in the water trap. The hole is less than 300 yards long with a lake on the left side of the green. McIlroy broke through the pit and Poulter hit the fairway carefully. The story is not over when Poulter green is not right. And McIlroy chip came in from the rough grass, but the ball kept falling and falling into the water. At this point, the competition ended with a 6 Up advantage for Poulter.
McIlroy needs to win both of the group’s round-robin battles to make it into the knockout stages this weekend.
Quoc Huy (according to Golf Digest)
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