MIAMI • Top-ranked Dustin Johnson won twice in impressive fashion on Saturday to advance to the World Golf Championships-Dell Matchplay semi-finals.
The reigning US Open champion defeated fellow American Zach Johnson 5 and 4, then birdied to win three of the last four holes and hold off Swedish eighth seed Alex Noren 3 and 2 in the quarter-finals at Austin Country Club.
Johnson was set to face 60th-ranked Japan Tour star Hideto Tanihara in the semi-finals as he aimed to win his third title of the season this morning (Singapore time).
He tasted victory at Riviera last month and three weeks ago at the WGC-Mexico Championship. He could become the first player to win every WGC event and match Tiger Woods as the only players to win consecutive WGC events.
"I like the way I'm playing. I like my chances," he said.
Tanihara, 38, dispatched England's Ross Fisher 4 and 2 in the quarter-finals, after defeating England's Paul Casey 2 and 1 in the round of 16.
1 Only Tiger Woods has won consecutive WGC tournaments. Dustin Johnson could join him if he wins the WGC-Dell Matchplay.
"There's a lot more strategy and thinking in playing this kind of format," said the Japanese golfer, who hopes to crack the world's top 50 and qualify for the Masters in two weeks following his WGC Matchplay debut.
American Bill Haas held off a late charge by countryman Phil Mickelson to beat the five-time Major winner 2 and 1 and reach a semi-final against Jon Rahm.
The 22-year-old Spaniard routed Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen 7 and 5.
"Since (the Farmers Insurance Open), I haven't played 13 holes like I did today - maybe ever," Rahm, who won his first PGA title in January at Torrey Pines, said of his quarter-final win. "I didn't miss a shot. To play golf like that and hit the putts, it was the perfect round."