Rory McIlroy defeats Xander Schauffele to reach WGC-Dell Match Play semi-final

The Northern Irishman rolled in a brilliant putt on the 18th to seal his place in the last four on Sunday.
Rory McIlroy defeats Xander Schauffele to reach WGC-Dell Match Play semi-final

SEMI-FINAL BOUND: Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, lines up his putt at the Dell Technologies Match Play Championship golf tournament in Austin, Texas, Saturday, March 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Rory McIlroy is through to the WGC-Dell Match Play semi-final after he defeated Xander Schauffele in dramatic fashion in their last eight match-up on Saturday.

The Northern Irishman rolled in a brilliant putt on the 18th to finish with a birdie and take the lead for the first time in his clash with Schauffele.

McIlroy produced an excellent display earlier on Saturday to beat Lucas Herbert 2up in another entertaining match that went down to the last hole.

After hitting nine birdies in a bogey-free round against Herbert, McIlroy made another six against Schauffele, although he did hit one bogey in the quarters.

"I feel great," McIlroy told Sky Sports shortly after his victory.

"If someone told me i was going to be a combined 16 under par for the two rounds... there's no way I thought I would have played the 18th twice today.

"It just shows the calibre you need to play at out here to try and beat these guys. I got off to a little bit of a slower start this afternoon compared to this morning but I was able to battle and claw my way back and held some great putts down the stretch to finally get the win.

"I went to a slightly different lob wedge compared to the one I have been playing with the last few weeks just because I want to get ready for Augusta so it has a little less bounce.

"It took me a while to get used to it, I practiced with it last week coming into this week but it feels really good. Even if I miss greens I feel I have a really good chance of getting it up and down.

"To have that level of confidence in your short game it feeds through the rest of your game and it can make you play a little freer.

"I love it (match play). I think it is exactly what I needed after the players (championship). I needed to come here and get some head-to-head stuff going on, get myself under pressure and hole putts like that at the last. It really means something.

"It's awesome to come here and play like this and yeah match play is a special format of the game - it's the oldest format of the game - and it's a shame this tournament is going away next year but hopefully it will be back."

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