Rory McIlroy finally got his game in order and made short work of Hideki Matsuyama to roll into the quarterfinals of the Match Play Championship on Saturday at San Francisco.
McIlroy, who made only four birdies in narrowly getting out of group play, ran off four birdies in eight holes for a 5-up lead, and the Japanese star could never recover. Next up for McIlroy was Paul Casey, who held off a late comeback by Charl Schwartzel.
“Definitely the best I’ve played scoring-wise,” McIlroy said. “I was able to take advantage of some of the good shots I was hitting today.”
McIlroy would be cutting it close to get to Las Vegas for the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight. He teed off at 4 p.m. and needed to end that one perhaps even sooner than the Matsuyama match to get there on time.
And if he were to win, the semifinals start Sunday at 6:45 a.m.
“Two tickets there. There’s a plane waiting,” McIlroy said. “Whether I get on it, we’ll have to see. But this takes priority.”
McIlroy and fifth-seeded Jim Furyk were the only players from the top 35 still around at the TPC Harding Park.
Furyk overcame an early deficit to J.B. Holmes for a 5-and-3 victory to reach the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year.
Other round of 16 winners were Louis Oosthuizen over Rickie Fowler, Danny Willett over Lee Westwood, Tommy Fleetwood over Branden Grace, John Senden over Hunter Mahan, and Gary Woodland over Marc Leishman.
Lexi Thompson finished a round of three-under-par 68 with a birdie after a fortunate ricochet to share the third-round lead with Inbee Park in the LPGA Tour’s North Texas Shootout.
The approach by the long-hitting Thompson at the par-five 18th was a screamer well left of the hole. But the ball struck the front facing of a temporary grandstand and ricocheted onto the green, skimming just over the top of a bunker. That set up a long two-putt birdie to get to nine-under 204.
Park, the 2013 North Texas winner, had a more conventional closing birdie, hitting her approach inside a foot for a round of 69.
Brooke Henderson, the 17-year-old Canadian who had the second-round lead, shot an even-par 71 to drop into a tie for third at eight under with 40-year-old Karrie Webb (64) and Angela Stanford (67).
Lydia Ko, the 18-year-old from New Zealand who is the No. 1 player in the world, shot a 70 to get even for the week.
Michael Allen birdied the final two holes for a four-under 68 and a one-stroke lead after the second round of the Insperity Invitational at The Woodland, Texas.
Allen had a 10-under 134 total at The Woodlands Country Club. He has seven victories on the 50-and-over tour, winning twice last season.
Joe Durant was second after a 68. He had a double bogey on the par-four 17th and rebounded with a birdie on the par-four 18th.