WGC – Dell Technologies Match Play

WGC – Dell Technologies Match Play

WGC – Dell Technologies Match Play
Austin, Texas
Winner: Kevin Kisner

It didn’t have quite the meter or gravity of Caesar’s “I came, I saw, I conquered,” but Kevin Kisner’s statement did have a certain rhythm to it, and it did say it all: “It was a long week. I prevailed. And I’m a world champion.” To fill in the blanks: This was the World Golf Championships – Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club in March. Kisner, 35, seeded 48th in a field of 64, had reason to be poetic, and even theatrical. First, because a year earlier, he reached the final of the match play and was walloped by Bubba Watson. And more to the current point, this was his third PGA Tour win. And he was the first to win the event after losing a match in the round-robin part of the tournament, which began in 2015.

Kisner beat 23rd-seeded Matt Kuchar, 3 and 2, for the championship, and nothing about his victory was simple. Three of his matches went the full 18 holes. He played three sudden-death playoff holes to get to the weekend competition. And overall, he had to play 120 holes over five days. “Grueling,” Kisner said. “Not only from the mental side, but the physical side. A lot of golf, and a lot of stressful holes and stressful putts.”

Kisner started his victory march with a 2-up loss to Ian Poulter. Then he made history, grinding the rest of the way, beating Tony Finau, 2 up; Keith Mitchell, 2 and 1; Haotong Li, 6 and 5, and then Louis Oosthuizen, 2 and 1 in the quarter-finals, and Open champion Francesco Molinari, 1 up in the semi-finals. Kuchar’s path: Defeated J.B. Holmes, 3 and 1; Si Woo Kim, 6 and 4; tied Jon Rahm; defeated Tyrrell Hatton, 4 and 3; defeated Sergio Garcia, 2 up; and in the semi-final defeated Lucas Bjerregaard, 1 up.

Kisner, thumped 7-and-6 by Bubba Watson in the 2018 final, never trailed Kuchar this time. But it was a battle. Kisner won the first hole with a birdie and Kuchar squared it with a par at No. 5. Kisner birdied the sixth to retake the lead, went 2 up on Kuchar’s bogey at No. 7, then was back to 1 up through the turn when he bogeyed No. 9. Kisner went to 3 up on Kuchar’s errors — a watery double bogey at the 11th and a bogey off a too-strong chip at the 15th — and he closed him out with halving birdies at the 16th.

“I gave too many holes away,” Kuchar said, “and he just plodded along … and let me make mistakes.” Said Kisner: “If you’d have told me I’d be sitting here, 10 years ago, I would probably have said you were crazy. I’ve had ups and downs. I’ve won on every tour, every level. And had tremendous downfalls on every tour and every level. So I pride myself in the way I pick myself up and keep grinding.”


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