Rory McIlroy holed a crucial birdie putt at the 18th to edge a thrilling quarter-final clash against Xander Schauffele and book his place in the last four of the 2023 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.McIlroy had come through two very close matches on Saturday, holding off Lucas Herbert in the last 16 before facing a very different challenge against Schauffele. The 33-year-old Irish golfer never trailed against Herbert but was unable to relax, with the Australian staying in touch with his opponent throughout the contest. The Co Down native overcame a late scare to close out a two-hole victory. It was all very different against Schauffele, however, as McIlroy did not lead until his clutch putt from around 12 feet on the 18th green earned him a memorable one-hole win. World Number Three McIlroy, who made 17 birdies across his two matches on day four, will meet Cameron Young in the semis at Austin Country Club. Young held off a stunning fightback attempt to beat debutant Kurt Kitayama by one hole.
Commenting on his performance, Rory McIlroy said:
“I putted well all day. I felt yesterday against Keegan (Bradley) I found something or I got a feel, and then putted really well this morning against Lucas, and then continued that this afternoon.“I think winning the Match Play is always a massive accomplishment because of what you have to go through. It’s seven rounds and – especially this week, I feel like a lot of my matches have been really, really close, so to be able to pull them out when I’ve needed to has been very gratifying.” Defending champion Scottie Scheffler came from behind to beat Jason Day 2&1, while Sam Burns saw off Mackenzie Hughes 3&2 in their quarter-final. The World Number One found himself three down in the early stages before winning three holes without reply to level things up after 12 holes. He then won the 13th and 14th to go 2UP before almost making an ace at the 17th, with a birdie there clinching his tenth consecutive match win at this event.