Tiger Woods defeated Patrick Cantlay 4 & 2 in third round of the Dell Match Play World Golf Championship to advance out of the round robin portion of play to the “sweet 16” portion of the tournament.
In his post round interview he indicated that he had given away a couple of holes on the front nine with a missed opportunity on the par five 6th and a bogey on the par four eighth.
The match turned slightly in his favor when Cantlay got a bad break on the ninth hole after a perfectly struck drive rolled through the fairway into the hazard. That provided a slight momentum change headed into the back nine only one down.
After a tie on the 10th hole, Woods got hot at the right time. Birdies on 11 and 12, an 83 yard hole out for eagle on the 13th, and another birdie on 14 took him from one down to three up in four holes. He hit a solid drive on 15, made his approach to just past the pin and narrowly missed another birdie with his putt. Cantlay made par so Woods went to the 16th three up.
After an errant tee shot on 16 kicked back into the fairway, Woods played his second shot on the par 5 to just short of the green and wound up with a four foot putt for birdie that was conceded when Cantlay missed his birdie chip. The match ended at 4&2.
Woods was congratulated by Austin’s Ben Crenshaw just before heading to the press tent. Evidently they had something to celebrate because they were both smiling and having a good time.
Woods said ” I’m glad the match ended early so I will have the afternoon off and could rest prior to the morning round on Friday. The weather Friday is predicted to be a bit cooler with a front rolling in around noon.
He is scheduled to play at 8:30 Friday morning against Rory McIlroy, who defeatied Mathew Fitzpatrick 4 & 2 in the third round. McIlroy is undefeated thus far in the matches.
Woods and McIlroy have never gone head to head in match play.