Phil Mickelson watches his tee shot on the first hole during the round of 16 play at the Dell Technologies Match Play golf tournament at Austin County Club, Saturday, March 25, 2017, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Mickelson, Johnson make Match Play quarterfinals in Texas

March 25, 2017 - 2:12 pm

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson eased into the quarterfinals of the Dell Technologies Match Play with a fourth straight round in which neither trailed.

Mickelson halved his opening hole with an 18-foot par putt, took the lead with an 18-foot birdie and was never seriously challenged in a 4-and-3 victory over Bay Hill winner Marc Leishman of Australia.

Mickelson was in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2004, when he lost to Davis Love III at La Costa.

Johnson was as dominant as ever as he moved closer to a shot at his third consecutive PGA Tour victory. In an unprecedented feat in 19 years of this tournament, Johnson now has led after each of the 60 holes he has played in four rounds. He won the opening hole again Saturday morning against Zach Johnson, and then put him away by winning the last two holes on the front nine to build a 4-up lead. The world's No. 1 player finished off the match with two more birdies for a 5-and-4 victory.

Johnson next faced Alex Noren, who at No. 8 was the only other top-10 seed remaining at Austin Country Club. Mickelson played Bill Haas, who survived a six-hole playoff to advance out of group play, then went 18 holes to beat Kevin Na on Saturday morning in the fourth round.

Noren defeated Brooks Koepka, 3 and 1.

The championship match isn't until Sunday afternoon, though some prizes could be handed out at the quarterfinals to Ross Fisher and Hideto Tanihara. Neither is in the Masters, and Fisher might have done enough with his 4-and-3 victory over Bubba Watson in the fourth round.

Tanihara, who began the Match Play with a victory over Jordan Spieth on Wednesday, took down Paul Casey in 17 holes in the fourth round. They were all square when Tanihara birdied the par-5 16th, and then dropped his tee shot to 4 feet on the tough par-3 17th for another birdie to close him out.

In other fourth-round matches:

—Soren Kjeldsen, who began his week by beating Rory McIlroy, had no trouble in a 5-and-4 victory over William McGirt. Kjeldsen is the No. 62 seed, which would match the tournament record for lowest seed to win (Kevin Sutherland in 2002) if he were to go all the way through.

—Jon Rahm, the 22-year-old rookie from Spain, went up early against Charles Howell III in a 6-and-4 victory.

AP Editorial Categories: 
Comments ()