Golf: Second seed Thomas continues great form at Match Play

Justin Thomas of the United States plays his shot from the sixth tee during the fourth round of the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play at Austin Country Club on March 24, 2018 in Austin, Texas.
Justin Thomas of the United States plays his shot from the sixth tee during the fourth round of the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play at Austin Country Club on March 24, 2018 in Austin, Texas.PHOTO: AFP

AUSTIN (REUTERS) - Second seed Justin Thomas continued his barnstorming run at the WGC-Dell Match Play with another emphatic victory in Texas on Saturday (March 24).

Thomas gave South Korean 50th seed Kim Si-woo no chance in their round-of-16 match, plundering Austin Country Club for a 6&5 victory in benign morning conditions.

Thomas did not lose a hole as he made short work of Kim. He also took only 13 holes to win on Friday, when he beat Francesco Molinari 7&5 on the final day of round-robin competition.

Thomas is the only top-10 seed to make the quarter-finals, after Spanish seventh seed Sergio Garcia was sent packing by American 45th seed Kyle Stanley, who pulled off a minor upset with a 3&1 victory.

Stanley's reward was an afternoon quarter-final against Thomas.

Other morning winners included Swedish 13th seed Alex Noren and English 58th seed Ian Poulter.

In another match, two-times Masters champion Bubba Watson was behind 18th seed Brian Harman early, but turned things around by winning four out of five holes around the turn to seize control.

Watson said his approach to match play was similar to stroke play - try to shoot a good score rather than worry about his opponent's game.

"We're just focused on birdies. If we shoot 67 every day and get beat, we get beat," said the 35th seed.

Watson's quarter-final opponent will be Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who came from behind to edge American Charles Howell 1-up.

Aphibarnrat was never ahead until the very end when the Thai 28th seed rolled in eight-foot birdies at the final two holes to snatch victory.

"I'm not finished," Thai said of his late comeback.

"(I was thinking) hopefully the putter will be rolling well the last couple of holes. The last two birdies were incredible.

"I just want to enjoy every single minute I spend in Austin." Aphibarnrat has already won a European Tour match play event this year - the World Super 6 in Australia, where he rode his luck to the title.

Noren also advanced to the quarters with an impressive 5&3 victory over American Patrick Reed.

"I like the format," Noren said. "It feels like the last nine holes on Sunday. You've got to be a little more aggressive maybe, a little bit more into the game than a normal event." In other matches, Poulter staved off a late rally by hot-putting South African Louis Oosthuizen to win 2&1.

Kevin Kisner sank a 10-foot birdie at the last to beat Matt Kuchar 1-up in an all-American battle, while Australian 46th seed Cameron Smith upset English 12th seed Tyrrell Hatton 2&1.