Mar 25th, 2021
McIlroy struggles at WGC Dell Technologies Match Play
Swing problems continue as he is thrashed by Poulter
Words: GolfPunk Photography: Getty Images
McIlroy had an error-strewn round, including finding the swimming pool of one of the villas overlooking the fifth hole on his way to a 6&5 thrashing from fellow Ryder Cup team-mate Poulter.
It would not be the only time the man from Northern Ireland found water as he endured the ignominy of chipping across the green into the lake to lose on the 13th hole.
"There's a couple of areas of his game which I'm sure he wants to firm up a little bit," Poulter said about McIlroy's game.
"He missed a couple of tee shots left. But it's Rory, it doesn't take a lot for Rory to spark up pretty quickly."
Bryson DeChambeau, a recent winner at Bay Hill, ran into a man in form in Antoine Rozner who won the Qatar Masters on the European Tour just two weeks ago. The Frenchman held his nerve to see off the world number five.
"It's the strongest field I've ever played in in my life and I played good golf out there," said 58th seed Rozner after his victory.
Lee Westwood who has had two agonising second places on the PGA Tour in recent weeks struggled against Spain's Sergio Garcia losing by 4&3 to Ryder Cup team-mate. Garcia grabbed the lead at the first hole and would not relinquish it as he cruised to victory.
Last week's winner at Players Championship, Justin Thomas, found himself five down at the turn against Matt Kuchar. Thomas took the match to the 16th but eventually lost by 3&2.
World number one Dustin Johnson defeated countryman Adam Long two-up and third seed Jon Rahm ground out a hard-fought victory against Sebastian Munoz of Columbia, winning one up.
It ended honours even in the all England match up between Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Wallace. Hatton led by one going down the final hole but Wallace's birdie was good enough to grab the half.
Two other Englishmen also had a halved matches with Andy Sullivan sharing the honours with eighth seed Xander Schauffele and Tommy Fleetwood holing a clutch putt on the last green to tie with South Korea's Si Woo Kim.
15th seed Matt Fitzpatrick of England lost to Jordan Spieth by 3&1 and countryman Paul Casey, was beaten 3&2 by Canada's Mackenzie Hughes.