McIlroy advances to Match Play semifinals in San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Rory McIlroy needed two days and 22 holes to beat Paul Casey and advance to the semifinals of the Match Play Championship.
Their quarterfinal match was suspended because of darkness, with both players squandering chances to win. On the final hole they played Saturday night, McIlroy missed a 6-foot birdie putt for the win.
McIlroy two-putted from about 60 feet, and Casey failed to get up-and-down from behind the green.
"I really just wanted to try and get it done as early as possible," McIlroy said.
Moments after they finished, Gary Woodland and Danny Willett of England began their semifinal. McIlroy had about 20 minutes before going straight to his semifinal against Jim Furyk.
It was a tough break for Casey, who became ill overnight and felt weakened for the resumption of the match.
But it sure didn't show. He hit one of his best shots of the week, a 3-wood onto the front of the green on the par-5 first hole at TPC Harding Park. It pitched at the front of the green and rolled all the way through into thick, sticky grass that required a delicate strike to get near the hole.
McIlroy reached the front fringe and had a clump of mud on his ball. His first putt of the day had perfect pace for such a long putt and settled 2 feet away.
Casey said his weakened state affected him only when he looked down at his ball in the rough. His chip didn't reach the green, and his birdie chip came up short of the hole. He had McIlroy putt his 2-footer for the win.
It was the second time in three matches that McIlroy was trailing with two holes remaining and won his match.
McIlroy is in the semifinals for the second time in this event. Furyk has never advanced this far. In the other semifinal, Woodland had not advanced beyond the opening round in his two previous tries, and Willet is making his Match Play debut.