AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) — Look no further than the final four of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club for a well-sourced reply to those who believe format and location don’t matter on the PGA Tour and that talent will always prevail.
Let’s start with Kevin Kisner, who won this event in 2019 after finishing second the year before. Add in Dustin Johnson, who won the 2017 Masters. Add a dash of Texas flavor with Scottie Scheffler, who has advanced to the semifinals for the second year in a row.
While others with higher world rankings have struggled to make it to the final day, Kisner, Johnson, and Scheffler have made it a point to return on Sundays.
Corey Conners, who was bred in Canada, played collegiately in Ohio, and now lives in Florida, picked up his sole PGA Tour win just an hour south in San Antonio, despite being raised in Canada, playing collegiately in Ohio, and now residing in Florida.
While the bracket on Sunday has some fresh twists, the methodology remains roughly the same.
Johnson, the No. 8 seed, shattered the dreams of English journeyman Richard Bland in the first round, defeating Bland 3-and-2 to end Bland’s aspirations of making his Masters debut.
He then reignited an old rivalry with former chum Brooks Koepka, rallying from a two-stroke deficit to win and earn a date with Scheffler.
“I enjoy this golf course, but it all comes down to hitting nice shots and shooting decent scores.” Right now, I’m happy with the way I’m striking the ball. “I think I’ve got a good handle on the golf ball,” Johnson said. “I’m hitting a lot of good golf shots and getting a lot of attention.” That’s what you have to do in a match.”
After losing in the final against Billy Horschel last year, Scheffler believes he’s picked up a few new tricks. The University of Texas product avenged himself by knocking out Horschel in the Round of 16 before cruising over Seamus Power 3 and 2, clinching the championship with a chip-in.
A walk-off chip-in to advance to the semifinals 😲
Scottie Scheffler defeats Seamus Power 3&2 and punches his ticket into the final four @DellMatchPlay. pic.twitter.com/4QY0xCAdWm
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 26, 2022
The local Longhorns were frequently encouraged to stop by before flying off to university events, so Scheffler has plenty of experience playing this Pete Dye-designed course. Due to the different nines — one that runs through the canyons and another that flirts with Lake Austin — he maintains it’s the ideal location for this match-play event.
“I believe it’s entertaining.” You have the option of playing aggressive golf or conservative golf. “There are a couple of various ways to plot your path around here,” Scheffler explained. “It’s difficult when the ground is this solid and the wind is blowing.” There are some difficult holes, and I believe you’ll need to be patient out there. It’ll be a lot of fun.”
Kisner improved to 20-4-1 in this event since 2017, slipping through Adam Scott 1 up and then bludgeoning teenager Will Zalatoris.
Even though Conners, the lone newbie to the party, became the first Canadian to ever reach the semifinals, he was taken aback by the opportunity to join in with the others.
“If I said I wasn’t surprised, I’d be lying.” I was confident in my abilities. I enjoy match play because it makes me feel like I’m competing. Conners, who will face Kisner, said, “You know, I’m pleased to be here, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.” “I never get ahead of myself, but I felt like I was playing extremely well and that I was enjoying myself.”
“I felt like I was striking the ball extremely well, driving it really well, and ironing it really well, and that’s a terrific mix for match play, just being in every hole and giving yourself chances on every hole,” he said.