Published: Mon, March 26, 2018
Sports | By Phillip Butler

Bubba Watson routs Kevin Kisner to win WGC-Dell Match Play

Bubba Watson routs Kevin Kisner to win WGC-Dell Match Play

Justin Thomas of the United States remains on course to become the new world number one as he reached the semi-finals of the World Golf Championship (WGC) Dell Technologies Match Play with victory over compatriot Kyle Stanley in Texas.

Justin Thomas, who can replace defending champion Dustin Johnson as world number one with a victory, thrashed Francesco Molinari 7&5 to join Sergio Garcia, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Charles Howell, Patrick Reed and Alex Noren as advancing to the knockout stage with ideal 3-0 records.

The American pair traded pars over the next three holes, and Watson closed out a convincing victory with two holes to book a clash against Kevin Kisner in the 18-hole final.

Thomas clawed back to be down just one hole at the turn but missed a 12-foot putt on the 10th and then put a ball in the water on the 12th to fall three back.

But Kisner then drained a huge eagle putt from over 50 feet for a remarkable eagle at the 12th, although the putts then dried up for both players as they each parred the final six holes to remain all square.

Casey only needed to halve his match against Matt Fitzpatrick to win his group for the third time in four years.

"I was planning of going out of the country for a few days with the family as my son has a spring break", said Watson.

But a hole later, at the par-5 12th, Watson made a 7-footer for birdie to clinch the match.

Thomas was not at his best and Watson took advantage, the two-time Masters champion leading throughout the semi-final after starting with a birdie at the first.

"I've just been trying to play my game".

"I played solid enough to win all of these matches, and it was nice to do so", Thomas told the Golf Channel after dominating Francesco Molinari 7 & 5 on Friday.

"I think my mentality fits the format well but I hadn't been playing well coming into it, so I did a lot of prep this week and starting to see some results out here".

Ian Poulter paid a big if not quite deserved compliment to Louis Oosthuizen after beating the South African at the WGC-Dell Match Play on Saturday. Watson, a two-times Augusta victor, halved with Julian Suri on Friday having been two down with two to play.

If the 24-year-old ascends to No. 1 in the world on Sunday, he'll join Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth as the only American players in history to have claimed the top ranking before the age of 25. I felt I was positive at times where I could have gone the other way and have in the past. "I hung in there and made putts and got it done in the playoff".

Noren led Smith, the only debutant in the last eight, after every hole.

"I wish I was hanging around for the weekend, but I'll rest up and get a little bit of work in before going to Augusta", McIlroy said.

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