Golf: No repeat championship for Johnson at WGC Match Play

Dustin Johnson of the United States looks on during the second round of the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play at Austin Country Club on March 22, 2018 in Austin, Texas.
Dustin Johnson of the United States looks on during the second round of the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play at Austin Country Club on March 22, 2018 in Austin, Texas. PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Defending champion Dustin Johnson has no chance of advancing to the knockout phase of the WGC-Match Play after suffering a second straight defeat in Austin, Texas on Thursday (March 22).

After losing his opening match to Austrian Bernd Wiesberger on Wednesday (March 21), top seed Johnson slumped to a lop-sided 4&3 defeat by Canadian 38th seed Adam Hadwin.

The world number one plays fellow American Kevin Kisner in the final match of round-robin play on Friday, a contest that now becomes academic, at least for Johnson.

Johnson never led against Hadwin, who was as surprised as anybody by his opponent's lacklustre form.

"I played extremely solid all day," Hadwin told Golf Channel. "I made the putts from five-to-seven feet when I needed to for par to keep the momentum on my side.

"I really expected Dustin to play a lot better than he did. I think everybody did coming in this week. Just a few putts he missed and here we are.

"I kept putting the pressure on him. He needed to play well in order to come back." Hadwin (1-0-1), with one-and-a-half points from his two matches, faces Wiesberger (1-1-0) on Friday.

Johnson (0-2-0) has nothing but pride to play for but Kisner (1-0-1) has a chance of topping the group and being among the 16 players to advance to the knockout phase.

Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, avoided Johnson's fate, bouncing back from a Thursday loss to beat Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela 2&1.

The Northern Irishman (1-1-0) could still win his group if he beats American Brian Harman (1-0-1) on Friday.