Saturday morning there were 16 players left with a shot at the title for the WGC Dell Match Play Tournament. After the morning round there were eight. Those included Phil Mickelson, Bill Haas, Soren Kjeldsen, John Rahm, Ross Fisher, Hideto Tanihara, Dustin Johnson and Alex Noren.
Mickelson defeated Mark Leishman – 4&3
Hass beat Kevin Na – one up
Kjeldsen beat William McGirt – 5&4
John Rahm beat Charles Howell III – 6&4
Ross Fisher defeated Bubba Watson – 4&3
H. Tanihara defeated Paul Casey 2&1
Dustin Johnson defeated Zack Johnson – 5&4
Andrew Noren defeated Koepka – 3&1
Kjeldsen, shown here making a birdie putt on number 5, was five under par through 14 holes. He defeated Rory McIlroy in the first round of play on Wednesday and was 6 under par when that match ended. So Kjeldsen is in good form for his match this afternoon against John Rahm. And, he will need to be in goof form.
Rahm polished off his countryman Sergio Garcia on Friday to finish undefeated in his pool of players and advance to the sweet 16. Rahm is ranked #25 in the world golf rankings but Mickelson says he believes Rahm is on of the ten best players in the world. Rahm can certainly be considered a contender for this title.
Mickelson will play Bill Haas in the Saturday afternoon quarterfinal match. He has been driving the ball well and playing from the fairway which is essential on this golf course. He is also putting well and credits that to hours of hard work on the putting green during the last eighteen months. He putted well in 2016 and in the Ryder Cup. If he continues his current form, Haas will have a tough time beating him.
Alex Noren, who defeated Brooks Koepka in the morning round will take on Dustin Johnson. Noren, who is ranked number 11 in the world golf rankings is a serious threat to Johnson. Not well known in the U.S. Noren is a multiple winner on the European Tour and an excellent player. And, in a 18 hole match any ranked player can have a good or bad round and influence the outcome.
Ross Fisher will face Tanihara in the quarterfinals. Fisher is not invited to the Masters as of this moment. He is close to receiving an invitation and a win here or perhaps a runner-up would secure him a spot in the Masters so he is working hard to achieve that goal.