Rahm and Johnson stay hot to reach WGC-Dell Match Play semi-finals
Dustin Johnson was tested for the first time during the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play tournament but beat Alex Noren to set up a semi-final against Hideto Tanihara.
The U.S. Open champion drained a clutch birdie putt on 15 to go two up on Alex Noren and saw off the Swede for a 3-and-2 victory in Austin on Saturday.
Johnson will now face Japan's Tanihara, who dispatched Ross Fisher with a 4-and-2 win.
Johnson was nearly flawless during pool play and cruised past Zach Johnson, 6 and 4, in the Round of 16. But Noren, seeded eighth, pushed the world's top-ranked golfer.
The two were all-square through 12, but Johnson was able to close him out by winning 13, 15 and 16.
"I hit some good shots ... and drove it well. Alex was a tough opponent," Johnson told NBC Sports. "There's a lot of golf [Sunday]. Anything can happen. I'm playing good golf right now."
This is the closest anyone has gotten to DJ this week. pic.twitter.com/9kGjvLkXJx— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 25, 2017
As well as Johnson has played at Austin Country Club, the most dominant player has been Jon Rahm.
The 22-year-old Spaniard said he played a "perfect round" to oust Soren Kjeldsen and advance to Sunday. After beating Charles Howell III with a 6-and-4 thrashing, he took care of Kjeldsen with a dominant 7-and-5 victory.
"I haven't played 13 holes the way I did today, maybe ever," Rahm told NBC Sports. "I missed one single shot, and it was the second shot on [the ninth hole]. Every other single shot I hit, it was pretty much exactly the way I saw it."
The perfect round.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 25, 2017
That's how Jon Rahm described his quarterfinal match against Soren Kjeldsen. pic.twitter.com/Omglco0ZX9
Phil Mickelson entered the quarter-finals on fire, but was inconsistent on Saturday in his match against Bill Haas. He was two down through 15 and had a chance to cut the margin on 16, but missed an eagle putt that would have won the hole.
"I had opportunities to match him on a number of holes and didn't make them," Mickelson told NBC Sports. "The putt on 16 for eagle, I've been making that putt all week. Those are holes you just can't give away because (Haas) made so many birdies."
Haas closed out the 2-and-1 victory on the next hole and will face off against Rahm on Sunday. Haas joked he needs to find about "30 more yards" on his drives overnight to stay with the power-driving Rahm.