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After barely making it to the weekend, world No. 1 captures 10th PGA Tour victory McIlroy Captures Match Play with Flare for the Dramatic at Harding Park

with his tournament life on the line. Trailing 2 down to Billy Horschel on what was the 17th hole of the recon- figured TPC Harding Park, McIlroy needed to drain his putt—and then survive Horschel’s 20-foot birdie attempt of his own—just to see another hole. McIlroy dramatically poured in his


putt, Horschel’s try slid by the hole, and the rest was history. “I dug deep when I had to, which

I’m very proud of,” McIlroy said. McIlroy birdied his final three

holes in regulation to rally from a 2-down deficit, before dispatching Horschel in 20 holes, to win his group in the rebooted Match Play Champi- onship and advance to the 16-player knockout round. McIlroy then decked Japanese phenom Hideki Matsuyama, and

took Paul Casey to 22 holes. Mc- Ilroy knocked out Jim Furyk in the semifinals with a birdie-birdie-eagle finish, including a 40-footer for the win, before delivering a TKO to Gary Woodland in the finals. McIlroy won all seven matches

ory McIlroy stalked a 25-foot putt on Friday of the WGC Cadillac Match Play Championship

he played for his 10th PGA Tour title, even though he trailed on the 17th tee three times. “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,”

McIlroy said. This year’s championship included a

twist, as it guaranteed three matches for everyone in a 64-man field, which was made up of the world’s top 70 players. While the change from a March Madness-style 64-player single elimi- nation bracket to a World Cup-like group setup made for an exciting Friday, not everyone was pleased. Mas- ters and U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth was 15 under in the 49 holes he played, but lost to Lee Westwood on Friday in a do-or-die match to win the group. Every other player who shot at least 11 under advanced through the group stage. Harding Park was just a temporary

home for the Match Play, as it will move to Austin (Texas) CC starting next year.

Four NCGA Teams Make Inaugural U.S. Four-Ball Match Play Stanford’s McNealy and Badhwar earn medalist honors; Higton brothers bounced in quarters

he inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship had a distinctly Northern California feel, with fog wafting through the


U.S. Four-Ball medalists Viraat Badhwar and Maverick McNealy

Monterey Cypress at The Olympic Club, and Stanford teammates Maverick McNealy and Viraat Badhwar capturing the championship’s first medalist honors.

But the East Coast duo of Nathan

Smith and Todd White cut down another Northern California duo— Fresno brothers Ryan and Jason Higton 3 and 2 in the quarterfinals—before chopping up the North Carolina tandem of Sherrill Britt and Greg Earnhardt 7 and 5 in the finals. “To be the first champion of an

event from the USGA, words fail to do justice to what it means,” White said. The 36-year-old Smith knows what it means to be a USGA cham- pion as a four-time winner of the U.S. Mid-Amateur, which also resulted in

four invitations to play in the Masters. White is a 47-year-old high school teacher who secured the winning point for the U.S. at the 2013 Walker Cup. McNealy and Badhwar were upset 1 up in the Round of 16 by recent SMU graduates Brooks Price and Draegen Majors. McNealy and Bad- hwar shot 64 on the Ocean Course and 66 on the Lake Course to win medalist honors by two. Recent Junior Tour of Northern

California grads Bryson DeChambeau and Austin Smotherman—now team- mates at SMU—qualified for match play as the No. 6 seed, but were also bounced in the Round of 16. Tim Mickelson (brother of Phil) and Jake Yount, the 2012 NCGA Match Play champion, were also knocked out in the Sweet 16.

SUMMER 2015 / NCGA.ORG / 17


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