Kisner rallies, Ancer rolls into Match Play quarters

Kisner rallies, Ancer rolls into Match Play quarters

AUSTIN, Texas — Kevin Kisner added to his match-play legacy Saturday morning when he twice rallied from 3 down and won the final four holes to beat Adam Scott and advance to the quarterfinals of the Dell Technologies Match Play.

It capped a wild day of comebacks and blowouts at Austin Country Club. Two fourth-round matches had to go extra holes, but Abraham Ancer needed only 12 holes to beat two-time major champion Collin Morikawa.

The quarterfinals were Saturday afternoon.

Scottie Scheffler, an ex-Texas Longhorn, got a small measure of revenge in a rematch of the final from a year ago when he beat defending champion Billy Horschel 1 up. Scheffler can go to No. 1 in the world if he wins the tournament because Jon Rahm was eliminated in 19 holes by Brooks Koepka in another dynamic match.

Richard Bland, the oldest player in the field at 49, needed to win his fourth-round match against Dustin Johnson to crack the top 50 in the world and qualify for the Masters. Johnson pulled ahead around the turn and closed him out, 3 and 2.

The Englishman has one last chance. His top-10 finish in Austin gets him in the Texas Open next week in San Antonio. The winner goes to the Masters.

Kisner, however, stole the show.

He was a runner-up in Match Play in 2018 and won a year later. No one has won more matches in Austin since the tournament moved here in 2016. For the longest time, it didn’t look as though he would add to that total Saturday morning.

Scott won three straight holes on the front nine and was 3 up through five holes. Even after Kisner cut the deficit to one hole at the turn, Scott birdied the 14th to go 3 up with four to play.

Kisner took it from there. He hit wedge to 5 feet for birdie on the 15th. He holed a 50-foot bunker shot that had to carry another bunker to a pin tucked behind a ridge for eagle on the par-5 16th.

“I told my caddie right before I hit it, I said, ‘We can use that wind to fly it right in the hole I think,’ and it came out just perfectly and slowed down with the wind,” Kisner said. “I couldn’t see it go in, but he said it trickled in like a putt. Those are things you dream about.”

Scott missed a 10-foot putt for par on the 17th to square the match. Kisner completed his unlikely comeback with a 7-foot birdie on the 18th.

Rahm nearly pulled out a comeback equally stout, if not quirky. He was 2 down with three to play when he clipped a pitch perfectly to 4 feet for birdie.

On the par-3 17th, Rahm hit what he thought was a perfect shot, only for it to spin off the green and headed toward the hazard, stopping inches from the rocks framing a canyon below. Koepka felt a big gust and took an extra club. His shot powered through the wind and over the green, not a problem except that it caromed off the wooden steps on a hill into mulch, leaving him little chance at making par.

Both had birdie putts in the 10-foot range on the 18th. Koepka’s putt was short, Rahm’s putt for the win just slid by. On the first extra hole at No. 10, Koepka holed a 15-footer.

In other matches, Corey Conners of Canada went up early and never gave Takumi Kanaya of Japan much of a chance in a 5-and-3 victory; Seamus Power built a 5-up lead on the front nine and sent Tyrrell Hatton packing with a 4-and-3 win; and Will Zalatoris birdied the 18th to square the match and beat Kevin Na in 22 holes.

The quarterfinal matches were Koepka against Johnson; Scheffler against Power; Ancer against Conners: and Kisner against Zalatoris.

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