Golf: Mickelson, Rahm advance to last 16 at WGC Match Play

Phil Mickelson tees off on the 6th hole of his match during round three.
Phil Mickelson tees off on the 6th hole of his match during round three.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson advanced to the knockout rounds of the World Golf Championships Match Play Championship with a 6-and-5 rout of fellow American J.B. Holmes on Friday (March 24).

Mickelson and Jon Rahm, who downed fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia 6 and 4 to win his group at Austin Country Club, joined Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen and Sweden's Alex Noren as 3-0 qualifiers for Saturday morning's round of 16 in Texas.

It is the first time since 2004 that the 46-year-old US left-hander advanced past the third round of the event, falling to Davis Love in the quarter-finals 13 years ago when the event was a full knockout event.

Mickelson dominated to advance, Holmes not making a birdie until the penultimate hole, Mickelson opened with back-to-back birdies and led 3-up after three holes, won the eighth as well with a birdie and took the 10th and 11th as well before closing out Holmes by halving with par at 13.

Rahm birdied the third and fourth to seize the lead but Garcia answered to win the fifth with a birdie. Rahm birdies brought him wins at the ninth and 10th holes and back-to-back birdies at the par-5 12th and 13th set up Garcia's final concession on the 14th hole.