Schauffele whinges at 'lucky' McIlroy after Scheffler stages epic comeback

Scottie Scheffler completed a stunning comeback against Jason Day at the WGC Match Play to tee up the chance of potentially facing Rory McIlroy in the final.

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Sun, 26 Mar 2023
Schauffele whinges at 'lucky' McIlroy after Scheffler stages epic comeback

Scottie Scheffler remains on course to defend the WGC Match Play after a spectacular comeback win against former World No.1 Jason Day. 

Day came racing out of the blocks and was 4-under after the first six holes at Austin Country Club. It gave him a commanding 3UP lead.  

But as we know, this 27-year-old who slipped on the green jacket in 2022, The King's red cardigan and won the Players is made from something different.

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Scheffler was gifted one hole back when Day misjudged his approach at No. 9, missing the green left and failing to get up-and-down for par. 

At the very next hole Scheffler drained a putt from all of 29ft to reduce the deficit and pile the pressure firmly on Day. 

They tied 11 and 12 before Scheffler turned the screw at 13, 14 and 15 by finding three consecutive birdies. 

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Day looked to be struggling physically and even asked for a medical consult. He has previously had issues with vertigo.

So much so that he even collapsed during the 2015 U.S. Open. But Golf Channel later reported that he was having allergy symptoms. 

Scheffler eventually closed out the match with a stunning pitching wedge at the par-3 17th, his tee shot landing a matter of inches from the hole. 

Day said: 

"I am excited to be back. The game is looking nice. There's still some stuff swing-wise that pops in every now and then, like the wedge shot on 14 that -- it's just in between patterns. I've just got to kind of work out those kinks. I feel happy with where I'm at."

Asked about overcoming the early deficit, Scheffler said:

Well, it's not like I was playing bad. I was playing pretty solid. I think I was 2-under through 6 and I was 3-down. There's not much you can do. I think he birdied 1 and birdied 4, 5, and then eagled 6.
"So it's like, hey, man, if you're going to do that, then tip my cap to you; that's just good golf and there's nothing you can do to stop it.
"If he was to keep up that pace for the whole round, I would just say the same thing; just take my hat off, shake hands and tell him great job."
"Fortunately he wasn't able to do that, but it's good to see Jason back in really good form, and I think it's good for the game."

McIlroy defeats Schauffele

Rory McIlroy booked his place in the final four with a narrow victory over Xander Schauffele having earlier beaten Lucas Herbert.

Schauffele was 2UP after seven holes but the 33-year-old fought back down the stretch. 

The match was all square from holes 13 to 17 but McIlroy snatched victory with a 12ft birdie putt at the last. 

Earlier in the week McIlroy hit one of the drives of his life to see off Denny McCarthy in the group stages. 

McIlroy endured some good fortune at No. 18 when his drive appeared to hit a mother's pram before ricocheting back into a favourable position. 

He went on to make birdie whereas Schauffele could only make par. 

Schauffele was asked if there was an element of luck involved in this match. 

He said:

"You look at that finishing hole, he hit a worse drive than I did and he ended up fine. Yeah, it's just a little bit -- he thought it was his ball when he walked up and then kind of walked past it, and I was like, 'Oh, my goodness. No way. Of course the tree perfectly there.' Yeah, it is what it is."

McIlroy said the 18th hole has been friendly to him this week, adding:

"Yeah, I was walking up there expecting it to be a TaylorMade ball and I saw a Callaway on it, and I was as surprised as anyone, because mine was further left than Xander's off the tee. Look, you need a little bit of fortune in these things, and that was a bit of luck for me today."

Burns, Young advance to semi-finals

In the other quarterfinals, Sam Burns defeated Mackenzie Hughes 3&2. Hughes was filmed looking frustrated with Max Homa's pace of play during their last 16 tie. 

Cameron Young was the last player to book his place in the semi-finals, defeating Kurt Kitayama 1UP. 

WGC Match Play Round of 16 Results

S. Scheffler vs. J.T Poston 1UP 

M. Kuchar vs. J. Day 1UP

P. Cantlay vs. S. Burns 2&1

M. Homa vs. M. Hughes 3&2

B. Horschel vs. C. Young 5&4

A. Putnam vs. K. Kitayama 6&5

R. McIlroy vs. L. Herbert 2UP

X. Schauffele vs. J.J. Spaun 3&2

Quarterfinal results

S. Burns vs. M. Hughes 3&2

S. Scheffler vs. J. Day 2&1

R. McIlroy vs. X. Schauffele 1UP

C. Young vs. Kurt Kitayama 1UP

Semi-final draw

S. Scheffler vs. S. Burns

R. McIlroy vs. C. Young

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