The Latest: Johnson holds on to win beat Long in Match Play

Sports

AUSTIN, Texas (AP)The Latest on the Dell Technologies Match Play (all times CDT):

5:25 p.m

Top seed Dustin Johnson closed out a long day at the Dell Technologies Match Play by outlasting Adam Long in 18 holes.

Half of the 32 matches went 18 holes, with six of them ending in ties.

Justin Thomas at No. 2 was the only player among the top 4 seeds to lose Wednesday on the first day of group play. Matt Kuchar built a 5-up lead and held on to beat him on the 16th hole. Collin Morikawa, the No. 4 seed, had to settle for a halve with J.T. Poston, while Jon Rahm at No. 3 needed an 8-foot birdie putt on the last hole to beat Sebastian Munoz.

The biggest stunner belonged to Antoine Rozner of France. He made his World Golf Championship debut with a great flop shot over the trees on the 18th hole that led to a 2-up victory over U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau.

Another day of 32 matches awaits on Thursday and Friday, and the winners of each 16 groups advance to the knockout stage on the weekend at Austin Country Club.

3:30 p.m.

Allez Antoine!

Antoine Rozner of France made his World Golf Championships debut by taking down U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau in the Dell Technologies Match Play.

And he won with a shot that would made fellow Frenchman Victor Dubuisson proud.

Stuck behind a tree on the 18th hole, with a 1-up lead, Rozner hit a flop shot over the tree to 5 feet. That forced DeChambeau to make birdie from 25 feet, and he missed. Rozner knocked in his short putt for a 2-up victory.

Dubuisson is famous for making two incredible escapes from the desert when he lost in the championship match in Arizona in 2014.

Rozner isn’t new to America. The 28-year-old from Paris played at Missouri-Kansas City and went 4-0 in the Palmer Cup. He only got into this event two weeks ago when he made a 60-foot birdie putt on the last hole of the Qatar Masters. It was his second victory in his last six starts.

2:30 p.m.

Patrick Cantlay had one of his better rounds of the year. He made six birdies, holed out a wedge for eagle and didn’t drop a shot at Austin Country Club. In stroke play, he would have opened with a 63.

In the Dell Technologies Match Play on Wednesday, he had to make an 18-foot birdie putt just to win his opening match against Brian Harman.

Cantlay says it shouldn’t have felt as hard as it was. Instead, he said he was sweating out until the final hole. Such is the format. Every match can feel like the final round on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Justin Thomas is the highest seed to lose in the opening round. Thomas is No. 2 and didn’t stand much of a chance against Matt Kuchar, who made five birdies on the front nine on his way to a 4-and-2 victory.

1:45 p.m.

Jordan Spieth and the rest of the Texas Longhorns are feeling right at home in the Dell Technologies Match Play.

Spieth never trailed in a 3-and-1 victory over Matt Fitzpatrick, while Dylan Frittelli of South Africa had a surprisingly easy time in a 6-and-5 win over Tony Finau.

Spieth and Frittelli were teammates at Texas when the Longhorns won the 2012 NCAA title at Riviera.

Scottie Scheffler, who graduated in four years with a business degree at Texas, made his tournament debut by beating Jason Day in 18 holes. Day won the Match Play in 2016, its first year at Austin Country Club.

Noon

Ian Poulter has handed Rory McIlroy his worst loss in 10 years at the Dell Technologies Match Play.

Poulter won the opening match at Austin Country Club, 6 and 5. The last time McIlroy walked off the course this early was when Ben Crane beat him, 8 and 7, in the second round in 2011 when the event was in Arizona.

Poulter was clinging to a 1-up lead going to the ninth hole at Austin Country Club when he hit a 7-iron to 8 feet for birdie. McIlroy threw away the next hole with a bad pitch, and Poulter poured it on with a tee shot into 15 feet for birdie at the 11th and a 4-iron to 8 feet for eagle on the 12th.

The match ended on the reachable 13th when McIlroy drove over the green and then chipped back across the green and into the water.

McIlroy began working with noted English coach Pete Cowen, though he still hasn’t said to what degree. And Wednesday was not the day for such revelations. He declined to speak to the media.

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