Turnaround lifts Young over McIlroy at Match Play
AUSTIN, Texas — Cameron Young saved his biggest shots for the end Sunday in a stunning turnaround to knock out Rory McIlroy. Then it was Sam Burns getting a surprise win of his own to eliminate close friend and defending champion Scottie Scheffler.
The final edition of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play didn’t lack for entertainment.
It was the first time in the 24-year history that both semifinal matches went extra holes. Right when Austin Country Club was poised for a dream title bout between two of the top players in the world, Young and Burns had the final say.
McIlroy and Scheffler both had a clear advantage in overtime. But McIlroy missed a birdie putt from 9 feet on the first extra hole. Scheffler needed a 4-foot birdie putt to win on the second extra hole. He missed, and Burns beat him with a birdie on the next hole.
McIlroy never trailed on the back nine and was 2 up with three holes to play. But he tugged his tee shot into a bunker on the par-5 16th, which kept him from reaching the green, and Young won the hole with a birdie. They halved the par-3 17th.
McIlroy was close to matching his heroics from Thursday when he drove the 18th green. This time, the ball hit the top collar of the bunker and rolled back into an awful lie. Young came up just short and hit a beautiful pitch-and-run up the slope to 8 feet and holed the birdie putt to send the match to extra holes.
Even then, it was advantage McIlroy.
Young’s drive on the par-5 12th came to rest in the sand against a collar, and all he could do was blast out 170 yards short of the back pin. McIlroy played away from the water — he made bogey on No. 12 in regulation from the lake — and came up short, chipping to just inside 10 feet. Young’s third shot was about the same range.
Young made another clutch putt. McIlroy missed and lost in 19 holes.
“I just didn’t do enough over those last four holes to close him out and when you don’t do that and you’re up against a player of Cam’s caliber, that’s what’s going to happen,” McIlroy said.
Scheffler trailed for the third straight match as Burns won the opening three holes. But the former Texas Longhorn rallied to catch Burns and then built a 2-up lead through 10 holes.
This time it was Burns who rallied, winning the 13th with a birdie, hitting wedge to 5 feet to win the 15th and take the lead with a tap-in birdie on the 17th.
On the closing hole, Scheffler hit a pitch to the back pin to just under 5 feet for birdie that sent the match to extra holes. They halved the 12th with birdies. And then Scheffler looked like he had a winner with a wedge to 4 feet on the 13th.
But after Burns missed his birdie putt, Scheffler looked on in shock as his winning putt slid by the hole. That was the break Burns needed. From a fairway bunker on the 14th, he hit his approach to 15 feet and poured in the birdie to win in 21 holes.
Scheffler and McIlroy face each other in a consolation match. Young, who contended in two majors last year, has never been closer to finally getting his first PGA Tour title.
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