Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy lose in Dell Technologies Match Play

AUSTIN, Texas — Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson lost in the opening round Wednesday and now face a tough road to the weekend in the Dell Technologies Match Play.

Bernd Wiesberger of Austria ended Johnson’s seven-match winning streak and had plenty of help in a 3-and-1 victory.

Former U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein caught McIlroy a little flat and built too big of a lead for McIlroy to overcome. McIlroy birdied five in a row on the back nine at Austin Country Club until losing on the 17th hole.

Mickelson, who won the last World Golf Championship in Mexico three weeks ago, made only one birdie in losing to Charles Howell III.

Only four players in the past two years, including Johnson in 2016, have lost on Wednesday and still won their four-man group. Johnson, McIlroy and Mickelson are among those who must win when round robin play resumes Thursday to have any hope of winning their groups and advancing to the weekend.

McIlroy, coming off a victory at Bay Hill this past weekend, was 5 down with five holes to play when he ran off three straight birdies. His comeback stalled when he missed a birdie putt from the fringe at the 17th, and Uihlein won 2 and 1.

Uihlein, the 2010 U.S. Amateur champion, is making his Match Play debut.

This is the second straight year that McIlroy has lost in the opening round. Soren Kjeldsen beat him a year ago.

Eight matches went the distance at Austin Country Club, and all but one went at least 15 holes on a day of big rallies and tight outcomes.

Sergio Garcia birdied the 18th hole and outlasted Shubhankar Sharma of India.

Zach Johnson rallied to earn a halve against Matt Kuchar. Kuchar was 4 up with four holes to play in the Match Play when Johnson won the last four holes with birdies. Johnson twice made putts inside 15 feet, made it from 6 feet on the 17th and then drove to the front of the 18th green and two-putted for birdie.

Jordan Spieth won three straight holes and outlasted Charl Schwartzel 2 and 1 in a battle of former Masters champions.

Justin Thomas had to go 18 holes to beat Luke List, who played the last 11 holes without a putter. List went to swat hedges with his putter out of disgust, not realizing there was a wall behind the hedges. It bent his putter grip, and he had to use a sand wedge to putt the rest of the way.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *