Watson wins Match Play for 2nd World Golf Championship

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

In doing so, he prevented Thomas from becoming the No. 1 golfer in the world.

Second seed Thomas, in brilliant form all week, continued his hot run with a 2&1 win over fellow American Kyle Stanley at Austin Country Club. Thomas only had to win that match to reach No. 1 in the world, and Watson figured that's what would happen.

For a moment, he let his mind wander as he walked off the fifth green Sunday morning during his semifinal match with Thomas. In his way is Bubba Watson, who is back to playing like the two-time Masters champion.

"I'm really excited. I really hope Jim Furyk-I know I'm not supposed to say this on the TV station-I hope Jim Furyk is watching, because I really want to play in France". Asked what tourist spots he'd been to, he replied: 'I've seen the big tower, the road where you go around and around, and that museum that begins with an L.' Just as well, then, that on the course he's a poet, and the most creative player the game has seen since Seve Ballesteros.

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Justin Thomas and Sergio Garcia were among the 16 players who won their round-robin brackets to advance into the single-elimination portion of the tournament at Austin Country Club. His only loss was to Johnson a year ago in the quarterfinals, and he needed only 31 holes to beat Patrick Reed and Cameron Smith.

Noren and Thomas are the only semifinalists who have not lost a match this week.

Kisner thrashed Ian Poulter 8 & 6 in the quarter-finals, the most lopsided win ever so deep into the event, after edging compatriot Matt Kuchar 1 up. He came out with a two-stroke advantage.

Thomas went into the water from an awkward lie on the par-5 12th, pitched to 6 feet and had a chance to escape with a halve and remain 2 down. Just plays with his hands, pictures a shot, makes a decision. The semifinals and finals are set for Sunday.

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Spieth started his Friday round double bogey, double bogey, bogey. The last two birdies were incredible. The win was his second in the last five weeks, and the 11th of his illustrious PGA TOUR career. Stricker's three results this season: T2-1-1, and he's now first on tour in scoring average. He tied for 12th the following week in the PGA Tour's Valspar Championship. The 51-year-old Stricker closed with a 4-under 68, birdieing all four par-5 holes on the Tom Fazio-designed layout with big and fast greens.

Kisner is looking for the biggest title of his career, having won PGA titles at Colonial previous year and Sea Island in 2015, while Poulter must now win next week's Houston Open to qualify for the Masters. He missed from 12 feet, and Kisner made birdie from 5 feet.

However, a lot of stars will be headed away from Austin after pod play, since eight of the top 10 failed to win their groups.

Knowing he would become world number one for the first time if he defeated Watson, Thomas didn't sleep well.

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