It’s the match everyone wanted to see in the match nobody wants to play. Rory McIlroy will face Scottie Scheffler in the consolation match – no, not the final – of the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play after he was unable to beat Cameron Young despite being 2UP with three to play.
McIlroy failed to find a birdie to close out the match and he was unable to get up and down from short of the green on the par-5 12th (19th) as Young made a terrific birdie after drawing a horror lie in the fairway bunker.
Young will battle with Sam Burns in the afternoon’s final and McIlroy rued not being able to put the match to bed.
McIlroy found himself behind early but made the turn 2UP before a bogey on 12, after finding the water on a hole that has been his nemesis all week, halved the deficit.
2UP with five to play never wins, is the old cliche and a McIlroy birdie on 13 left him with that advantage and he wouldn’t card another birdie.
“Yeah, it was a great match,” said a weary McIlroy.
“Feeling obviously pretty bad, 2-up with three to play, but Cam played great. He birdied 16 and 18 and then made a hell of a birdie there after getting an unlucky break with the tee shot. Yeah, I just didn’t do enough over those last four holes to close him out and when you don’t do that and you’ve got, you’re up against a player of Cam’s caliber that’s what’s going to happen. So disappointing, but try to regroup and go out and try to win a match this afternoon.”
Young was delighted to get the win in another very enjoyable match. The American looks a different animal with new caddie Paul Tesori on the bag.
“Yeah, it was a lot of fun. It’s never fun being down to someone like that with a few holes to go.
“Paul said to me on 15, he said, If you birdie the last three after we didn’t birdie 15, if you birdie the last three, we might get to play another one. And fortunately, just two was enough to just push it to extra holes and that was obviously a really nice birdie there after a bad break.
“It took a lot. Paul and I were just talking and we stuck to just doing the same things we did all day down the stretch. Unfortunately, I had a couple really good opportunities on 16 and 17 and kind of hit some good putts that didn’t go in. But we just kept pounding away, kept sticking to what we were planning to do, and thankful we made it.”
Friendship was put aside in the other semi-final as Burns came from 2DN after 12 to beat Scheffler on the 21st.
The four-time PGA Tour winner roared 3UP after three but lost his way in the middle of the round so his comeback is particularly impressive given Scheffler looked on course to defend his crown.
“Yeah, just overall a really good match, I think. It was nice getting off to a great start there. I knew Scottie would battle back. Yeah, I don’t know what else to say, to be honest,” said Burns, a three-time winner in 2022.
“I struggled midway through the round. But just was able to battle back and kept myself in it and you know at the end of the day it came down to making putts.”
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