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McIlroy eliminated as Spieth stays alive

7   //    24 Mar 2017, 06:33 IST
RoryMcIlroy - Cropped
Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy made a shock group-stage exit at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play as Jordan Spieth stayed alive on Thursday.

McIlroy was gifted a first victory in Group Two at the Austin Country Club when Gary Woodland withdrew due to family reasons.

However, the Northern Irish 2015 champion was eliminated after Dane Soren Kjeldsen – who was due to face Woodland on Friday – made it two wins from two with a 4&3 victory over Emiliano Grillo.

Spieth, the world number six, remains a chance of reaching the last 16, claiming his first win by beating Yuta Ikeda 4&2 in Group Five.

The group is topped by Hideto Tanihara, who halved his match against Ryan Moore.

World number one Dustin Johnson stayed in control of Group One thanks to a 3&2 win against German Martin Kaymer.

The American faces Jimmy Walker – who like Kaymer has one win – on Friday.

Sergio Garcia claimed his first win in Group Seven with a 4&3 victory over Kevin Chappell, but he will need to beat fellow Spaniard Jon Rahm to advance.

Bubba Watson stayed perfect in Group 13 courtesy of a 4&3 win against Scott Piercy, while Thomas Pieters beat Jhonattan Vegas 3&1.

Paul Casey and Charl Schwartzel face a blockbuster final-round match-up to get through from Group 12.

The pair hold 2-0 records after Schwartzel was too good for Joost Luiten 4&3 and Casey edged An Byeong-hun 1-up.

Phil Mickelson is well-placed to progress from Group 14, a 5&4 thrashing of Daniel Berger seeing him claim his second win.

Alex Noren is through from Group Eight after a 3&2 win over Bernd Wiesberger and Francesco Molinari's withdrawal with a wrist injury.

Pat Perez (Group Three), Kevin Na (Group Six), Brooks Koepka (Group Nine), Tyrrell Hatton (Group 10), K.T. Kim (Group 11), and William McGirt (Group 15) also hold perfect records.

Other group leaders include Brendan Steele and Jim Furyk.

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