WGC-Dell Match Play Recap
WGC-Dell Match Play Recap
Venue: Austin Country Club – Austin, TX
Date: March 22-25, 2023
Purse: $20 Million
Winner: Sam Burns
When play ended on Saturday evening, it looked like a foregone conclusion that Scottie Scheffler would successfully defend his title at the 2023 WGC-Dell Match Play in his home state of Texas. However, I think someone forgot to tell Sam Burns, as he dismantled Cameron Young in the final for his fifth and, by far, biggest win on the PGA Tour to date.
Before we get to the final, we need to go back to the semi-final, where best friends Burns and Scheffler gave us a heavyweight battle for the ages. Burns earned the early advantage, as he raced out to a 3 UP on Scheffler over the first three holes, but we all knew the reigning World No.1 wouldn’t go away quickly, and he made a charge of his own. By the time the two took to the back nine, it was the Texan, not the Louisianan, who was in command.
«I knew it was going to be a tough match with Scottie,» said Burns. «I love him to death, but he’s really good at golf and very frustrating to play. I got off to a great start. I knew he was going to battle back and I didn’t have my best stuff halfway through the round. But I was able to dig deep there on the back nine and started to challenge him a little bit more.»
It looked like Scheffler took control on the 1oth with a birdie, his fourth in five holes, but Burns held his ground and didn’t flinch as he counterpunched with birdies on Nos. 13 and 15. Then, on the 17th, Burns dropped a pinpoint laser iron shot, which left Scheffler shaking his head, but not deterred as he dropped a birdie on the final hole to force a playoff. Scheffler certainly had his chance to slam the door shut and put himself into the final on the second playoff hole, but once he missed his birdie putt and left the door open for Burns, who kicked it down with a birdie of his own on the next hole, which secured his place in the championship match where the reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year was awaiting after besting World No.3 Rory McIlroy.
Young was arguably the most impressive player through the first four days, playing his first 81 holes (five matches) in 32 under, but full of confidence after beating his best friend, Burns was the one who now felt destined to win. Young would win only one hole, the par-4 2nd, in the title fight and grabbed an early 1 UP advantage. While Young seemed to slow down as fatigued seemed to set in after playing 72 holes in two days, Burns appeared to have a second wind.
«It was very exhausting. What a great week,» said Burns. «Coming into this week I was really looking forward to this event — it’s the first time I’ve played it and I knew I wanted to win it ‘cause it’s the last one. This has been an absolute blast for me. To come here for the first time and play as well as I did and get to compete against the best players in the world, I am so grateful and I don’t know what else to say, I can’t think straight right now.»
Burns reminded us of how good he really is, and at only 26, this may only be the beginning of many more wins, including the major championship, to cement his status as one of the best golfers in the world.
|Sam Burns||6&5||Cameron Young|
|Rory McIlroy||2&1||Scottie Scheffler|
|Sam Burns||21st||Scottie Scheffler|
|Cameron Young||19th||Rory McIlroy|
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