Golf: Rory McIlroy eliminated by Soren Kjeldsen at WGC Match Play

Rory McIlroy was eliminated from title contention on Thursday (March 23) at the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play.
Rory McIlroy was eliminated from title contention on Thursday (March 23) at the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play.PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI (AFP) - 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&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 the Northern Irishman a victory but also giving Kjeldsen a walkover in their scheduled Friday match-up.

The Dane will advance to the knockout stage round of 16 on Saturday after a 3-0 finish in the group while the best McIlroy can do is 2-1 even if he defeats Grillo on Friday.

"Due to a personal family matter, Gary Woodland must withdraw from the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play," said a statement issued by Woodland's agent, Mark Steinberg. "We ask that you respect his family's privacy at this time."

Woodland was the second golfer to withdraw from the tournament for personal reasons.

On Wednesday, distraught Australian star Jason Day conceded his match against American Pat Perez after only six holes at Austin Country Club.

He later revealed he had withdrawn to be with his mother, who is battling terminal lung cancer and is scheduled to undergo surgery on Friday.

The tournament in Texas sees the field split into 16 groups of four players who play each other on a round-robin basis through Friday.

The 16 group winners then advance to the knockout rounds starting on Saturday.