Gary Woodland withdraws from Match Play for personal reasons

Dustin Johnson had no trouble in his debut as the No. 1 seed in a 5-and-3 victory over Webb Simpson. The American played his last nine holes in three over, hitting only one green. He took a penalty drop 120 feet from the hole, while Kim had 20 feet for birdie. Mickelson was just right of the green, and it was so fast that he chipped into the water.

Two matches, two blowout victories. Noren was due to play Molinari on Friday. He has made, with concessions, double-digit birdies in just 31 holes over the first two days. Under a new local rule, he could have replaced it with no penalty. Cabrera Bello and Charles Howell III resumed the playoff without him.

"I felt good coming into today", Kjeldsen said.

Ah, the beauty of match play.

He'll have to decide after Friday's match. Two down with three to play, the Englishman won the 16th and 17th, only for Steele to roll in a gutsy birdie putt to win on the 18th. Momentum was with Fitzpatrick.

EARLY START: Starting times have been moved up two hours because of storms forecast for Friday afternoon.

Two other playoffs were underway.

Bill Haas delivered another awesome escape when he chipped in from 120 feet to save par and extend a sudden-death playoff that he eventually won in six holes.

Gary Woodland withdrew because of a personal matter, allowing Kjeldsen to advance.

In a text message delivered by his agent, Day says his mother is resting comfortably and that doctors are optimistic about her recovery.

You'd think a man who was brought up in Southern California and went to school in Arizona would be far more in tune with 85 degrees, calm and sunny. The surgery was at The James Cancer Institute at the Ohio State University.

Jon Rahm won the battle of Spain for a spot in the knockout stage of Match Play.

Kerr, the 2015 Kia victor, closed with birdie-birdie. This makes six straight years Garcia didn't make it beyond the third round.

Holmes had an adventure trying to salvage the third hole. The tee shot squirted left about 30 feet.

In all, 23 of the world's 25 top-ranked players will compete at Aviara Golf Club near San Diego ahead of next week's ANA Inspiration at Rancho Mirage, California.

Jason Day and Gary Woodland previously withdrew from the tournament. Pat Perez was 1 up through 14 over Marc Leishman.

This week's tournament sees the field split into 16 groups of four players who play each other on a round robin basis through Friday.

Knox's defeat and a victory for Bill Haas over KT Kim ensured Haas and Kim would contest a sudden-death play-off to decide the victor of group 11. Head-to-head matches do not apply in deciding who advances. The duo traded blows over the next three holes before Kjeldsen escaped from the pack to win four straight holes after the turn. That means Haas and Kim will wait almost two hours for their playoff to begin.

KEY STATISTIC: Brooks Koepka has yet to go beyond the 13th hole in both his matches. The first round was suspended when heavy rain made the course too wet to continue play. Mickelson closed him out on the next hole, 6 and 5, and won his group with a 3-0 record.

A similar situation will send No. 8 Alex Noren of Sweden to single-elimination play on the weekend.

"In match play, you are not adding up every shot and if you happen to hit a bad one and make a bogey or double, it's not that big a deal", Mickelson said.

Johnson, the No. 1 seed, was 4 up with four to play against Martin Kaymer and almost drove the green with a 380-yard drive.

  • Julie Sanders