WORLD No.2 Jason Day’s bulging disk was given a reprieve after getting a dream ride through to the knockout stages of the World Golf Championships Match Play in Austin.
Day was gifted an easy passage to a showdown with American Brandt Snedeker in the round of 16 when England’s Paul Casey withdrew after six holes of their match with illness.
But it was the only good news for the Australian tilt with world No.6 Adam Scott bundled out, leaving Day as the only Aussie through to the weekend.
Day had fought back from two-down early to square the match before Casey pulled the pin.
“It’s all positive for me (for Paul to pull out) but it is a shame Paul couldn’t continue,” Day said.
“My back is still probably only a two out of 10 but who doesn’t play with some pain out here?
“It’s definitely a good thing for me to be able to get some more rest and get some good therapy going. If I can make it all the way through Sunday that means I’m playing 72 holes on the weekend, which is a lot of golf.” Day and Snedeker have met in match-play once before with the Queenslander winning 6&4 in a dominant display in singles play at the 2013 Presidents Cup.
Scott needed to win his match outright against Bill Haas to advance but the American dropped in birdies on 17 and 18 to win 1-up in a rollercoaster match.
The early part of their battle was more lowlights then highlights with mistakes contributing more than good golf.
Scott lost four holes with bogeys and another with a double bogey while Haas lost three holes of his own through bogeys. Two-down through 11 holes Scott finally added some gloss with an eagle and birdie in consecutive holes to get all-square.
But it was undone by losing the 14th with a sloppy double bogey. He then rebounded with birdies on the 15th and 16th to take the lead, only to see Haas surge.
Heading down 18 needing to win the hole Scott found the right rough and failed to hold the green with his approach.
“We both played so bad it was almost embarrassing,” Scott said. “It was just poor golf from both of us really. I probably would have been walked off the course in 13 holes against someone else.”
In dead rubber matches for the three other Australians Germany’s Martin Kaymer smashed Marcus Fraser 4&3, Sergio Garcia gave Marc Leishman a 5&4 hiding and Berndt Wiesberger and Matt Jones finished all-square.
World No.1 Jordan Spieth and No.3 Rory McIlroy also advanced to the final 16 along with Dustin Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen, Brooks Koepka, Matt Kuchar, Haas, Chris Kirk, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed, Byeong-Hun An, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ryan Moore and Patton Kizzire.