Billy Horschel, Matt Kuchar, Scottie Scheffler and Victor Perez are all vying for a spot in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play final after a day of upsets in Austin.

Stars Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood and Sergio Garcia surprisingly crashed out in the quarter-finals as the underdogs ruled on Saturday.

The unpredictable tournament continued on the weekend after world number one Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed were unable to advance beyond the group stage.

Spanish third seed Rahm topped Erik van Rooyen 3 and 2 in the last 16 before being upstaged by Scheffler 3 and 1 in the quarter-finals at the Austin Country Club.

"I felt like I played some really good golf," said Scheffler, who will meet Kuchar in an all-American clash for a spot in Sunday's decider. "I think I kept things bogey-free and I got some early leads and made sure that I kept the pressure on those guys and made them feel like they had to do something special to beat me, which they weren't able to do."

Fleetwood – the 21st seed – succumbed to Horschel after 19 holes, while former Masters champion Garcia was beaten by 31st seed Victor Perez 4 and 3.

American golfer Horschel and France's Perez will do battle in the semis.

Englishman Fleetwood was sent packing after hitting a hole-in-one during his last-16 victory – a drive out of bounds at the 12th seeding him come unstuck in the quarters.

It was a big day for 2013 champion Kuchar, who eliminated former world number one Jordan Spieth 1up before defeating Brian Harman 2 and 1.

Kuchar – the 52nd seed – was runner-up in 2019, with last year's event cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Certainly golf's a funny game and I think there are times as a professional where you can feel so far away, you think, golly, I don't have it," Kuchar said.

"I'm racking my brain trying to find it, but then you plug in the right ingredient, the right key, and then all of a sudden it snaps back, and thankfully it's been working and I'm seeing progression. It's just finally now it's clicked and it's a lot more fun this way, I assure you."

Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau were among those to pack their bags as the field was cut to 16 at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play on Friday.

Top-seeded Johnson lost to Kevin Na, who finished birdie-birdie to turn the match and eliminate his fellow American from Group 1 on day three in Austin.

Scotland's Robert MacIntyre progressed out of the group after a tie with Adam Long, having landed one of the shots of the week with a spectacular drive on the 18th which ended up inside three feet and ultimately got him through.

"I had probably one of the best and one of the luckiest golf shots I've hit in my life," the Scot said.

"I had a bit of bad luck here and there and managed to turn it around right at the end there, and it's one of them things, you've just got to keep fighting until the end, and it just shows anything can happen in this game."

Johnson and Na's match was not without tension, with the 28th-seeded American tapping his opponent on the shoulder on the 11th green to warn him about collecting his ball before concession had been verbalised.

In a mildly tense exchange, Johnson appeared to apologise but walked away less than impressed.

DeChambeau, the fifth seed, bowed out at the hands of Tommy Fleetwood, who topped Group 5.

Fleetwood had established a 4up advantage through seven holes but stumbled, allowing DeChambeau back in the match. The Englishman finished with a par on the 18th to win.

"It turned really scrappy for a lot of the back nine," Fleetwood said. "He started coming back and on the last an unlikely par. Match Play is that funny all week. There are guys who have played better than me for three days who are going home and I'm going through."

World number two Justin Thomas was another casualty, despite defeating 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen 3 and 2.

There were eight playoffs required, with Jon Rahm, Bubba Watson and Sergio Garcia among those winning to join the likes of Jordan Spieth in the last 16.

Garcia delivered an incredible shot to beat Lee Westwood, making a hole-in-one at the fourth hole.

Rory McIlroy was also eliminated, tying with Cameron Smith as Ian Poulter finished top of Group 11 after three wins.

Rory McIlroy admitted chasing Bryson DeChambeau's power cost him after the four-time major champion comfortably missed the cut at The Players Championship as Lee Westwood produced a flawless performance to lead the way.

DeChambeau's power play at last year's U.S. Open has changed golf for many across the PGA and European Tours, with former world number one McIlroy trying to add length to his game.

But defending Players champion McIlroy, without a win since 2019, missed the cut by 10 strokes on Friday – a second-round 75 adding to his opening 79 at TPC Sawgrass.

After another forgettable day, which included a double-bogey, three bogeys and two birdies, McIlroy explained his struggles, telling reporters: "Probably, like October last year, doing a little bit of speed training, started getting sucked into that stuff, swing got flat, long and too rotational.

"Obviously I added some speed and am hitting the ball longer but what that did to my swing as a whole probably wasn't a good thing. So I'm sort of fighting to get back out of that. That’s what I'm frustrated with."

McIlroy added: "I'd be lying if I said it wasn't anything to do with what Bryson did at the US Open. I think a lot of people saw that and were like, 'Whoa, if this is the way they're going to set golf courses up in the future, it helps. It really helps'.

"The one thing that people don't appreciate is how good Bryson is out of the rough. Not only because of how upright he is but because his short irons are longer than standard, so he can get a little more speed through the rough than us, than other guys.

"I thought being able to get some more speed is a good thing and maybe just to the detriment a little bit of my swing, I got there. I just need to maybe rein it back in a little bit."

Westwood had no such trouble during the second round – the Englishman using a six-under-par 66 to earn a one-stroke lead at nine under before darkness suspended play.

After finishing second at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, Westwood roared to the top of the leaderboard through 36 holes via a dazzling round, which included six birdies and no bogeys.

It is the third time Westwood has led after two rounds at The Players Championship – in 2005 and 2010 – but he is yet to win.

The 47-year-old is a two-time PGA Tour champion, though his last success came in 2010.

Countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick (68) is a stroke off the pace, one shot ahead of Chris Kirk (65) and Sergio Garcia (72), who led after the opening round.

U.S. Open champion and Arnold Palmer Invitational winner DeChambeau posted a second-round 69 to be tied for fifth at six under.

World number one Dustin Johnson's second round in the 70s catapulted him up 22 positions into a tie for 36th, eight shots behind Westwood, while Jordan Spieth (74) is a stroke further back.

Xander Schauffele (74) was among the stars to miss the cut – the American's Tour-best streak of 23 consecutive made cuts coming to an end.

Sergio Garcia earned a two-stroke lead thanks to a late surge in the opening round of The Players Championship, while defending champion Rory McIlroy endured a nightmare start.

An 18-foot eagle at the final hole propelled Garcia to the round of the day – a seven-under-par 65 – and top spot on Thursday.

Garcia, who won the Players in 2008 and lost a play-off in 2015, gained four strokes from his last three holes in Ponte Vedra Beach, where play was suspended due to darkness.

Masters champion in 2017, Garcia had eagles at the 16th and ninth holes (both par-fives) for his first round at TPC Sawgrass with multiple eagles – his 77th career round.

It is also Garcia's first 65 or better at the venue since 2013, after the Spanish star was almost late for his opening-round tee time.

"I thought I had plenty of time. Obviously I left the range at 7:35, I was teeing off at 7:40 so I figured it's going to take me probably two, three minutes at most to get to 10," Garcia said. 

"I don't know if the clock on the range was behind or something, but when I got to the putting green just like 50 yards short of 10 I kind of looked at it and the sun was coming up so I couldn't see if it was 7:38 or 7:39 but just in case I just took a little stroll, made sure that I got there before it turned to [7:40]."

Brian Harman is five under heading into the second round, a shot clear of Matthew Fitzpatrick, Corey Conners and Shane Lowry at the PGA Tour event, where 21 players will complete their first rounds on Friday morning.

U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, who claimed last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, opened with a first-round 69, highlighted by six birdies.

Former world number one Jordan Spieth, 2018 Masters winner Patrick Reed and Jason Day are among 14 players tied for 12th position at two under, while Phil Mickelson and Justin Thomas are a stroke further back.

World number one Dustin Johnson signed for a 73, but McIlroy had a quadruple-bogey eight on his card as the former world number one posted a seven-over-par 79.

Still the defending champion after last year's tournament was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, McIlroy returned and struggled dramatically after two balls found water.

McIlroy recorded 43 on the back nine – his first nine – tying the highest opening nine-hole score of his PGA Tour career (677th round).

Henrik Stenson had an even worse day than McIlroy, with an 85 from Sweden's former Open champion featuring two double bogeys and two triples and three balls in the water.

It marked the highest score of Stenson's Tour career, eclipsing his previous high of 83.

Sergio Garcia will skip the Texas Open in the week preceding The Masters to reduce any COVID-19 risks that could force him out of the Augusta field.

The 2017 Masters winner was forced to miss last year's tournament after testing positive for the coronavirus, breaking his run of competing in 84 consecutive majors.

Now he will take every step necessary to cut out any contact that could see him ruled out of another shot at a second green jacket.

Garcia made his announcement after storming to the top of the leaderboard at The Players Championship on Thursday with a seven-under 65, on a day when Henrik Stenson shot an 85 and Rory McIlroy laboured to a 79.

Asked whether he would be cautious about his schedule leading into Masters week, Garcia said: "I'm not playing the week before

"We have fans back, so you know that at any time you might get it [the virus] from any one of them - not that they're trying to give it to you or anything like that, but it might happen."

The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play takes place in Austin a week before the Texas Open, and Garcia said he would "have to be careful" there.

"I would love to get closer to the fans, but there's too much at risk at stake for us and if we get COVID because of anything, we're the one that pays. We pay the price," Garcia added.

"No one else does. So we have to be very careful as the fans come back into our game, which is great to have them, don't get me wrong."

The 2020 Masters was moved from its usual April slot to November 12-15 and was played without spectators. They will return in limited numbers this year.

Given the changed circumstances last year, Garcia was not as put out as he might have been by missing a full-blown Augusta extravaganza.

"I'm not too much of a record kind of guy, but it was nice to have that streak going," Garcia said.

"I think I was quite close to catching up with Tom Watson as second most all time. I know my friends always like to keep a record of all those stats. But to be totally honest, if I had to miss any Masters, that probably was the one.

"Obviously playing in November, the Masters is unbelievable, but it didn't have the feel that it has in April, for sure. So now we know there's a good reason why we play it in April and not in November. So that was unfortunate, but it's what it is."

Rory McIlroy had a quadruple-bogey eight on his card as the former world number one endured a shocking start to his title defence at The Players Championship.

The Northern Irishman finished his first round on a seven-over-par 79, with two balls at the bottom of a lake, and facing a huge battle to make the cut.

McIlroy began on the back nine and made an immediate double bogey, but the round got worse when he sent two balls into the giant expanse of water to the left of the fairway at the 18th.

The four-time major winner gave himself a chance from close range to limit the damage to three shots, but McIlroy could not sink the putt.

Having also dropped a shot at the 13th hole - his fourth - it meant McIlroy reached the turn in seven-over-par 43.

He picked up shots at the first and second to get back to five over, but further damage to his scorecard at the next two holes saw the 31-year-old return to seven over.

A third three-putt of the round at that fourth hole summed up McIlroy's misery, and although he soon picked up another shot and began to play steadily, more putting peril at the ninth, his final hole, inflicted yet more damage.

McIlroy was not alone in sending balls into the water.

England's Paul Casey took seven at the 17th, the famous three-par island hole at Sawgrass, after going into the drink both off the tee and from the drop zone.

That outcome saw Casey plunge from two under par to two over, but he steadied himself and finished with a one-over 73.

Henrik Stenson had an even worse day than his fellow European Ryder Cup stars, with an 85 from Sweden's former Open champion featuring two double bogeys and two triples and three balls in the water.

While McIlroy, Casey and Stenson ran into trouble, Sergio Garcia led the way as he secured the clubhouse lead with a sparkling seven-under 65, the Spaniard with a pair of eagles in his round.

This tournament was called off after the first round last year due to the developing COVID-19 crisis, with McIlroy the most recent champion in 2019, when he edged out Jim Furyk by one shot.

England's Matt Fitzpatrick and American Webb Simpson took a share of the lead in a star-studded field at the WGC-Workday Championship.

World number 16 Fitzpatrick carded a six-under 66 without dropping a shot on day one at the Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida.

Ninth-ranked Simpson closed a clean back nine with three straight birdies and a par to climb up the leaderboard and match the 26-year-old Englishman's score.

Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka dropped his only shot at the par-four 16th, but is alongside three others at five under.

Americans Kevin Kisner and Billy Horschel also carded 67s and were joined in third place by 2017 Masters winner Sergio Garcia, who drained a round-high eight birdies.

World number two Jon Rahm and Patrick Reed were among six players tied in seventh at four under, along with Tony Finau.

Adam Scott saw a potential hole-in-one come back off the flag at the sixth and shot an up-and-down even-par 72, while Justin Thomas recovered from dropping four shots in three holes to close with three birdies in the last four to sign for a one-over 73.

World number one Dustin Johnson posted a pair of double bogeys on his way to a five-over 77. That score was matched by US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, who dropped shots on seven holes.

Rory McIlroy made a decent start, shooting a three-under 69 to sit in a tie for 13th.

The first World Golf Championships event of the season kicks off the Florida swing of the tour, heading towards The Players Championship starting on March 11.

Dustin Johnson will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Saudi International after finishing with a flourish at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club on Saturday.

Johnson was two strokes adrift of joint-leaders Ryan Fox and Stephen Gallacher at the halfway mark, but the world number one will be the man to catch in the final round.

The Masters champion was upwardly mobile on moving day, carding a four-under 66 to go out on his own at 13 under in an event he won in 2019 before finishing second last year.

Johnson had not dropped a shot this week until his double bogey at the 13th, relinquishing a two-shot advantage after finding the water.

The two-time major winner put that setback behind him like the champion that he is, ending his third round with back-to-back birdies, having also made three gains on the front nine and another at the 10th.

A second successive 66 left Victor Perez in second place, the Frenchman going out in 32 following three birdies and picking up another shot at 17 in a blemish-free round.

Race to Dubai leader Tyrrell Hatton is a further shot back on 10 under along with fellow Englishman Andy Sullivan, Tony Finau and Soren Kjeldsen.

Fox slipped back nine under with a 71, two bogeys on the front nine and as many after the turn denting his hopes of being crowned champion.

Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia are among another six players at nine under, the Spaniard making great strides with a sublime six-under 64 - the lowest round of the day.

Justin Thomas carded an eight-under 65 to share the lead after the opening round of the Tournament of Champions on Thursday.

Two-time champion Thomas produced a bogey-free first round that included eight birdies in Kapalua, Hawaii.

The world number three, winner of the event in 2017 and 2020, made five birdies on the front nine and three on his final five holes.

Thomas shares a two-stroke lead with Harris English in the first PGA Tour event of the year.

The highlight of English's round was an eagle at the ninth hole, where he chipped in from just off the green.

On what is a congested leaderboard, six players are tied for third at six under.

Sergio Garcia, Robert Streb, Nick Taylor, Ryan Palmer, Im Sung-jae and Patrick Reed all opened with 67s.

Garcia won the tournament in 2002, while Reed was victorious in 2015 and has two runner-up finishes since – including last year.

Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay and Brendon Todd carded five-under 68s.

World number one Dustin Johnson is back in a tie for 30th after opening with a 71, while Jon Rahm carded a 70.

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