MIAMI: Second-ranked Rory McIlroy was eliminated from title contention on Thursday at the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play after group rival Gary Woodland withdrew and Soren Kjeldsen won his second consecutive match.
Denmark’s Kjeldsen, barely in the field at 62nd in the world rankings, defeated Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo 4 and 3 to end McIlroy’s hopes a day after a shock victory over the four-time major winner from Northern Ireland.
The situation was created after Woodland conceded his second-round group match with McIlroy for personal reasons, handing him a victory but also giving Kjeldsen a walkover in their scheduled matchup.
The Dane will advance to the knockout stage round of 16 today after a 3-0 finish in the group while the best McIlroy can do is 2-1 even if he defeats Grillo.
Grillo began birdie-par to win the first two holes over Kjeldsen in windy conditions, but the Dane birdied two of the next four holes to square the match. Kjeldsen won the first four holes on the back nine, taking the 10th and par-5 12th with birdies, and despite a bogey to drop the 14th, clinched the match with a six-foot par putt at 15.
England’s Paul Casey edged South Korea’s An Byeong-Hun 1 up to set up a showdown of unbeatens against South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel, who beat Dutchman Joost Luiten 4 and 3, to decide which advances.