WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play - Day 4

Bjerregaard tames Tiger to reach semi-finals

March 27-31
Austin Country Club, Austin, Texas
$10,250,000
Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 5


Lucas Bjerregaard showed nerves of steel to beat his childhood hero Tiger Woods in an enthralling quarter-final and reach the last four of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club, where Francesco Molinari also progressed after another day of domination for the Italian.

Bjerregaard tames Tiger to reach semi-finals, © Getty Images

© Getty Images


The Dane was fearless under the most intense of pressure as he faced his very first experience playing alongside the 14-time Major Champion in front of sell-out crowds in Texas, having overcome his fellow Scandinavian Henrik Stenson in the Round of 16 earlier in the day.

“It’s up there with my best days, that’s for sure. We had a great match, it’s a shame it had to end like this. It really didn’t deserve that. Obviously I’m happy to come out on the winning side. But we had a great match and I really, really enjoyed playing with him today.”

It was a rip-roaring afternoon encounter, as Bjerregaard showed no signs of being overawed by the occasion, opening with a birdie to go 1up. Woods picked up three successive birdies to take a 2up lead by the fifth hole, but the 27 year old pulled it back to all square by the tenth hole.

A double-bogey at the 11 th set him back again but the real turning point came at the par five 16 th , where Bjerregaard drained a monster eagle putt to level the match going down the par three 17 th . He stood firm again to hole a tricky putt and match Woods’ tap-in birdie before the game went down the final hole.

After the American found the bunker with his second, Bjerregaard gave himself an 18-footer to win. Although he missed, it was game-set-match when Woods’ six-foot par putt slipped by. Bjerregaard will face Matt Kuchar in the semi-final after he dispatched of Sergio Garcia in the quarter-final.

“I’ve never played with him before, so it was a cool experience for me and obviously to say I’ve beaten Tiger, there’s not a lot of guys that can say that, so it’s up there. It’s so different to what I’ve ever experienced before.

“And I’ve played with some good golfers before, but I’ve never heard so many yell his name and all the stuff all the way around. And it was really cool to experience. And I actually thought it was really enjoyable. But it must be hard, as well, doing that every day.

“The support out there was great. A lot of people yelling my name as well, and having a bit of fun with it. So there was support for me as well.”

Molinari, meanwhile, continued his remarkable week by beating Kevin Na 6&5, meaning all but one of his victories this week finished before the 16 th hole and he has not yet played the 18 th this week. The reigning Race to Dubai Champion, who had beaten Paul Casey 5&4 in the Round of 16, will face last year’s runner-up Kevin Kisner – who took out Louis Oosthuizen in the quarter-finals – in the final four.

“I just played very well from the start. Kevin birdied the first and then after that just played very well and made a few putts, and didn’t make too many mistakes. It was playing tricky this afternoon. I’m glad it’s over now.

“I played great today, given the conditions. I would say a lot better than this morning. He birdied the first and then after that just started birdieing a few holes in a row, and just tried to keep pushing, like this morning.

“I think it’s really important at this level, even if you’re three or four up early, to keep going because matches can turn very easily. So again, I did that very well and I’m very happy with my performance.


” I’m just trying to play my own game as much as possible, not look too much at what they’re doing. I think in the past one of the mistakes I made was to get too hung up on what the other guy was doing on the course.

“In the end if you hit fairways, hit greens, make a few putts here and there, try not to drop any easy shots, you’re going to be pretty hard to beat.”


Quarterfinals
Tiger Woods USA
1 Up
<
Lucas Bjerregaard DEN
Sergio Garcia ESP
2 Up
<
Matt Kuchar USA
Kevin Kisner USA
>
2&1
Louis Oosthuizen RSA
Kevin Na USA
6&5
<
Francesco Molinari ITA
Round of 16
Lucas Bjerregaard DEN
>
3&2
Henrik Stenson SWE
Rory McIlroy NIR
2&1
<
Tiger Woods USA
Matt Kuchar USA
>
4&3
Tyrell Hatton ENG
Branden Grace RSA
1 Up
<
Sergio Garcia ESP
Marc Leishman AUS
2&1
<
Louis Oosthuizen RSA
Haotong Li CHN
6&5
<
Kevin Kisner USA
Francesco Molinari ITA
>
5&4
Paul Casey ENG
Justin Rose ENG
2 Up
<
Kevin Na USA