The Last: Kanaya wins in match play when Herbert 3-Putts | Sports News


AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The latest on Match Play (all times local):

Japan’s Takumi Kanaya heads into the Dell Technologies Match Play weekend in a surprising turn of events.

Kanaya needed just 14 holes to beat Australian Lucas Herbert and force a playoff to decide who would win the group. Herbert seemed to have it in hand with a tee shot into the fairway that left him 93 yards out. Kanaya was in a bunker with such a bad lie that he could only advance to the fairway, 86 yards from the hole.

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Herbert played a conservative corner 18 feet above the hole. Kanaya used the slope of the green for a shot that spun 2 feet for a sure par. Herbert’s downhill putt to win slipped just under a yard, and he shockingly missed the par putt to lose the match.

This was the third qualifier to decide group play. Kevin Na birdied the 18th to win his match and qualify for the playoffs with Maverick McNealy, and he won on the first extra hole. The other playoff went six holes before Scottie Scheffler beat Matt Fitzpatrick.

This tied the tournament record for the longest elimination in group play. In the knockout version, the longest match was twice eight holes over regulation.

At least one more playoff was yet to come between Viktor Hovland and Will Zalatoris.

For the second year in a row, Scottie Scheffler had to punch extra holes to win his group in the Dell Technologies Match Play.

Six holes, to be exact.

Scheffler had to beat Matt Fitzpatrick to stand a chance, and that was no problem. He won, 5 and 4, and they tied group play with a 2-1-0 record. After waiting a few hours for all the matches to go off, they headed back to the first tee for the playoffs.

Fitzpatrick birdied 10 feet on the first hole, and Scheffler matched it from 3 feet. They went all the way to the par-5 sixth, where Fitzpatrick jumped 15 feet and missed the birdie putt, and Scheffler won with a 6-foot birdie.

A year ago, Scheffler and Xander Schauffele halved their game and went to extra holes. Scheffler won, then reached the championship game.

Brooks Koepka won the final hole to beat Shane Lowry and win his group without a playoff, while Jon Rahm lost his match and still won the group.

Kevin Kisner also advanced. He built a 5 lead over Justin Thomas through nine holes and ended up beating him in 15 holes. Also advancing was Adam Scott, who had no trouble beating Jordan Spieth.

Richard Bland has won the Battle of Blighty and is heading to the Knockout Stage of the Dell Technologies Match Play.

Bland, 49, took on Lee Westwood, 48, in an All-England game which featured the two oldest players on the pitch. They have known each other since junior golf. Bland won on the 17th hole and won his group.

Bland only became eligible for the 64-man squad two months ago when he was a runner-up in the Dubai Desert Classic. Now he still holds out hope of advancing far enough this weekend to break into the top 50 and qualify for the Masters.

Dustin Johnson is also playing this weekend at the Austin Country Club. He was leading 2 over Max Homa, assured of the half point he needed to win his group.

Billy Horschel’s winning streak at the Dell Technologies Match Play is over. No matter. He halved his match with Thomas Pieters, and that was all he needed to win his group and advance to the knockout stage this weekend.

Horschel is the defending champion. His streak dated back to the third day of round robin games last year and he still effectively had miles to reach Tiger Woods and his record 13 game winning streak. This was back when the whole tournament was single-elimination. Geoff Ogilvy already had 11 consecutive wins until losing in the championship game in 2007, the year after his victory.

Tyrrell Hatton remained undefeated in his group and qualified by defeating Daniel Berger. Seamus Power of Ireland also advanced. This almost guarantees that Power will remain in the top 50 in the world and enter the Masters.

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