Austin (USA), Mar 24 (PTI) Shubhankar Sharma came up with a late rally but it was not enough to fetch him his first WGC-Dell Match Play win as he went down to another first-timer South African Dylan Frittelli in the third league match here.
The third loss meant Sharma finished at the bottom of the four-man pool, but would have been richer with the experience in his first taste of Match Play since his win way back in All India Amateurs in 2013.
The 21-year-old Sharma, who is due to play at Houston next week and then carries on at the Masters on an invite, acquitted himself well by taking Sergio Garcia to the 18th and losing to Frittelli on the 18th.
Against Xander Schauffele, Sharma lost 3&1 at the WGC event.
Asia’s big star was Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who won all his three matches. He scored a great win over World No. 3 Jon Rahm 4&3 and with a 3-0 record, he marched into the knock-out phase, where he meets Charles Howell III.
The day’s big match-up was between Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth, where the former won 2&1 and moved into the knock-out stages. Spieth was somewhat at a loss two weeks ahead of Masters.
Spieth was totally out of sorts, hitting his opening tee shot onto the range and out-of-bounds. He hit into a hazard on each of the next two holes. And when he finally caught Reed with consecutive shots to tap-in range, he missed two key putts inside 6 feet.
As Reed moves in search of his second WGC, Spieth heads to Houston Open without a top 10 in his last seven tournaments.
Justin Thomas (No. 2) and Sergio Garcia (No. 7) were the only top-10 seeds to advance to the fourth round. Thomas had the easiest time, a 7-and-5 victory over Francesco Molinari. Since defending champion Dustin Johnson is already out, Thomas could rise to No. 1 in the world if he wins this week.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.