DeChambeau in danger and Cantlay crushed at WGC Match Play

By Sports Desk March 24, 2022

Several of the biggest names on the PGA Tour continued strong starts at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play on Thursday, but Bryson DeChambeau was not among them.

Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka have all enjoyed 2-0-0 starts in Austin as they aim to top their four-man groups and reach the weekend.

Yet DeChambeau had only been able to tie with 49-year-old Richard Bland – bidding to become the oldest professional to qualify for the Masters – on Wednesday, with even that result requiring a little luck.

Up against Lee Westwood on Thursday, DeChambeau knew he must improve but did not. Westwood finished 1 up to leave DeChambeau bottom of Group 9 with just half a point.

DeChambeau at least has the excuse he is struggling with a wrist injury; world number four Patrick Cantlay will do well to explain away his below-par performances.

Cantlay lost his narrow lead over Keith Mitchell late on Wednesday and was well off the pace when play resumed in round two, beaten 5 and 4 by Seamus Power.

That result tied the biggest of Thursday, with Rahm and Justin Thomas also 5 and 4 winners against Cameron Young and Marc Leishman respectively.

Nothing quite compared to Maverick McNealy's sensational 8 and 6 defeat of Joaquin Niemann from the previous day – and McNealy could only tie with Kevin Na on Thursday, despite twice being 3 up.

Elsewhere, at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship, the tournament got under way with Ben Martin moving to the top of the leaderboard with a six-under 66, enough for a one-stroke lead.

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    McIlroy, the 2011 champion, was among the early starters on Friday and bogeyed two of his first six holes after starting on the 10th tee.

    However, he steadied the ship on the back nine to finish the day at three under for the tournament, two shots behind his fellow overnight leader Patrick Cantlay, who is among the later starters.

    The leaderboard might have looked rosier for McIlroy had he not bogeyed his last hole of the day, the par-three ninth, having found the bunker.

    DeChambeau continued to make good ground as his one-under 69 improved him to four under for the tournament. The American had a typically eventful round by mixing four bogeys with five birdies, the last of which saw him finish with a flourish on the 18th.

    Ludvig Alberg is also at four under and was, like Cantlay, preparing to start his second round just as McIlroy and DeChambeau reached the conclusion of theirs.

    Belgian Thomas Detry was making a splash in round two. He had reached five under through 13 holes, putting him level with Cantlay going into the closing stages of his round.

    PGA Championship winner Xander Schauffele is at one under after posting a 69, but it was a tougher day for world number one Scottie Sheffler, who is five over par after carding a four-over 74 on day two.

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