AUSTIN, Texas – The Latest on the Dell Technologies Match Play (all times local):
The opening day of the Dell Technologies Match Play has had its share of pillow fights. Bryson DeChambeau managed to escape with a halve.
DeChambeau is playing for the first time since withdrawing Feb. 4 at the Saudi International. He tells Golf Channel he had a broken hamate in his left hand and a torn labrum in his left hip and still isn't swinging as hard as he wants.
In his match against Richard Bland, four holes were halved with bogey. Bland never led. They halved the last eight holes. DeChambeau missed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th that would have won the match.
It was the second match that ended in a tie. Patrick Cantlay and Keith Mitchell each missed birdie chances in the 10-foot range on the final hole.
Meanwhile, the red hazard line that touched the edge of the sprinkler head on the 13th green has been fixed. Chief referee Gary Young says officials went to re-paint it after Thomas Pieters was denied relief from the sprinkler hole. But the crew didn't arrive in time for DeChambeau being in the same spot. He was given a free drop.
Because each match is its own tournament, changes could be made in the middle of the opening round.
Thomas Pieters hit a chip that ran through the 13th green and landed in a sprinkler hole. He had to play it from there. An hour later, Bryson DeChambeau hit it in the same spot and was given free relief.
This would have been a problem at any PGA Tour event but the Dell Technologies Match Play.
The red hazard line at the front edge of 13th green ran over the edge of the sprinkler hole. The green slopes severely to the front toward the water. The ruling on Pieters was because part of his golf ball was touching the hazard line, he was not entitled to relief.
He wasn't happy, either. Tom Hoge made a 15-foot birdie putt. Pieters had no chance to match him from the sprinkler hole, quickly whacked it with his lob wedge.
Pieter went on to win his match.
Mark Dusbabek, a PGA Tour rules official in the television booth, explained it was not the intent to have the red hazard line touch the sprinkler, so the ruling was changed. In stroke play, that wouldn't have happened because the entire field plays that hole. But each match is separate from all the others — head-to-head, not against the other 62 players.
DeChambeau was given a free drop, made par and halved the hole with Richard Bland. The match remained all square with three holes to go.
Scottie Scheffler has Ian Poulter's number in the Dell Technologies Match Play.
Scheffler began his road to the championship match last year with a 5-and-4 victory over the Ryder Cup stalwart. This time Scheffler drew Poulter in the opening session, and it was tough all the way. Poulter led 2 up early before the Texas grad battled back.
Poulter was 1 up when Scheffler birdied the 14th and 15th to take the lead. Scheffler closed him out when Poulter hit against the rocks framing the canyon on the par-3 17th. Poulter took a penalty drop and his chip for par hit the cup and spun out.
Next up for Scheffler are two more Englishmen on the last Ryder Cup team — Tommy Fleetwood on Thursday, Matt Fitzpatrick on Friday.
Defending champion Billy Horschel had an easy time winning his first match against Min Woo Lee of Australia.
The final match of the opening round is on the course, and Bernd Wiesberger is headed home.
Wiesberger was the first alternate at the Dell Technologies Match Play. He was on the range Wednesday morning getting loose in case someone withdrew.
Paul Casey had back spasms on the second hole and conceded his match to Corey Conners. But he had already teed off, and Casey still hopes to play his other two round-robin matches.
It's been a long three weeks for Wiesberger. The Austrian was playing a European tour event in South Africa when he received an exemption to the Valspar Championship. He made the 33-hour trip to the Gulf coast of Florida and tied for 33rd, then hoped for the best at the Match Play.
Wiesberger said he turned down a spot in the Texas Open next week, not wanting to hang around for a week in Texas before he plays again.
On the golf course, Xander Schauffele and Viktor Hovland were among the top seeds to make it through their opening matches in round-robin play.
Hovland was 1 down to Sepp Straka with three holes to play when he won the 16th with a birdie, took the lead when Straka went left into the canyon on the par-3 17th and hit wedge to 2 feet on the 18th for a 1-up win.
Jordan Spieth made only one birdie putt to win a hole. He twice missed the green with a wedge. He never led until the 16th hole. All that mattered is he won his opening match against Keegan Bradley in the Dell Technologies Match Play.
It wasn't a pretty match. Five of the holes at Austin Country Club were won with pars. And it featured a wild halve on the 13th hole when Spieth drove into the water, only for Bradley to later chip into the hazard. Both made par.
Spieth took his first lead when Bradley's second to the par-5 16th hole caromed off the slope of a bunker, went over the green and out-of-bounds. Neither played led by more than one hole the entire match until Bradley conceded Spieth a 6-foot par on the final hole for a 2-up margin.
Adam Scott beat longtime friend Justin Rose, 2 up. In another group, Luke List beat Justin Thomas and Kevin Kisner never trailed in his win over Marc Leishman.
Two players had short days. Maverick McNealy, the last player to get into the field, needed only 12 holes to beat Riviera winner Joaquin Niemann. Corey Conners played only two holes before Paul Casey conceded the match with back spasms.
Casey did not withdraw from the tournament. He hopes to play Thursday in the round-robin session.
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