French golf has the victory champagne on ice in anticipation of Victor Perez going all the way in the WGC – Dell Match-Play Championship in Austin, Texas.
Perez muscled his way into Sunday morning’s semi-final after comfortably defeating Sergio Garcai 4 & 3 and now faces American Billy Horschel, who defeated England’s Tommy Fleetwood at the 19th hole. The winner will go through to the final of the Euro 8.8m event.
Perez, with Rory McIlroy’s former long-time caddy J P Fitzgerald on the bag, had five winning birdies in his round to Garcia’s two and the Scotland-based player continues to go from strength-to-strength after defeating Aussie Marc Leishman 2 & 1 in his opening match. While he lost 4 & 3 to Russell Henley on day two he defeated Sungjae Im 2 & 1 to secure his place in the last 16.
Perez then faced Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre, a player he’s come to know well given they competed alongside each other on the secondary Challenge Tour and in the 2018 Challenge Tour’s Foshan Open in China Perez defeated the Scot in a play-off to win the title.
Perez has been living now in Scotland for three-years, first in Dundee and now in the capital, Edinburgh and he burst onto the world golf stage in capturing the 2019 Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews and continues to remain the defending champion.
He easily accounted for Scotland’s top-ranked player, being 6-up after 12 holes before claiming a 5 & 4 triumph at the 14 and then after a short break he faced Garcia.
After losing the first hole to Garcia, Perez was never behind after squaring the match with a second hole birdie and then going ahead in winning the third hole with a birdie. Garcia pulled one back with a birdie on five but with Perez winning the sixth with a birdie and the eighth hole with a par to head to the 10th hole at 2-up.
Having greatly admired Garcia in becoming the winningest European at the 2018 Ryder Cup in Versailles, Perez continued to push his more fancied rival by going 3-up with a par on 14 before sealing Garcia’s fate in holing a seven-footer for birdie at 15.
“Obviously very happy,” said Perez. “I think this morning was probably the best golf that I’ve played all week. It was definitely an element to where I was comfortable playing against Bob MacIntyre as we have known each other since the Challenge Tour, I think we have a good friendship, it was kind of a match that I felt like more comfortable than the previous three and I felt like I played my best golf this morning.
“This afternoon obviously it just becomes a long day, you are up pretty early, you have a short break and you have to, you sit, which might not be the greatest thing, you get a little bit sluggish and then you have to get back and obviously Sergio is such a great match player, nothing is going to be given to you and obviously very pleased to get on to Sunday.”
The Semi-Final line-up is as follows;
Victor Perez -V- Billy Horschel / Matt Kuchar -V- Scottie Scheffler