Kiradech marches ahead at WGC Dell Technologies Match Play

Sat 24 Mar 2018

Kiradech marches ahead at WGC Dell Technologies Match Play


March 24: Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat made it three wins in a row by defeating world number three Jon Rahm of Spain 4&3 to set up an epic clash with American Charles Howell III at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play on Friday.

The Thai star has won all three of his group matches and is the only one of seven players in the 64-man field to achieve a 100% record at Austin Country Club.

Kiradech got the upper hand over Rahm early when he went 3-up at the turn over last year's runner-up.

The 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion then sank a 20-foot birdie putt on 14 to go 4-up and closed out the match at the next hole with a par to qualify for the round of 16  for the first time.

“I just kept the ball in play. To be honest, I don't think Jon was playing his best game. I know it's not the best day for him. So, it's all about friendship here. I'm playing great golf. And a lot of confidence, comfortable with the swing,” said Kiradech, who finished tied fifth at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship earlier this month.

Kiradech proved he was also able to compete under testing conditions, showing grit amid windy conditions.

“When the wind picks up, it's really tough. I think some greens, they put some water on it, so it makes easier for the players,” said Kiradech, who notched earlier wins over Chez Reavie and Keegan Bradley.

Kiradech is beginning to establish himself as somewhat of a match play expert as he won the 2015 Paul Lawrie Match Play on the European Tour and also the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth last month which used a six-hole match play format on the last day.

In other matches, India’s Shubhankar Sharma lost 1-up to South African Dylan Frittelli, while China’s Haotong Li lost 3 & 2 to Charl Schwartzel and Japan’s Yuta Ikeda halved his match with Zach Johnson.

All of them failed to progress beyond the group stage.