Fleetwood, Garcia & Rahm exit WGC Matchplay in quarter-finals
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Fleetwood congratulates Horschel after their titanic WGC Matchplay quarter-final

France’s Victor Perez is the sole European in the WGC Matchplay semi-finals after he beat Sergio Garcia 4&3 and Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm lost.

Fleetwood missed a 10-foot putt to win on the 18th against Billy Horschel and then lost at the first extra hole after hitting his tee shot out of bounds.

Perez will play Horschel in the first of Sunday’s semi-finals.

Scottie Scheffler, a 3&1 winner over Rahm, takes on Matt Kuchar after he beat fellow American Brian Harman 2&1.

Fleetwood was never behind against Horschel until losing the 19th hole. He was one ahead after nine and then won the 11th with a par three.

But he lost the 12th after hitting his second shot into the water and looked set to also lose the driveable par-four 13th after again finding water. However, Horschel, who had played safe with an iron into the fairway, took four shots from 85 yards and the hole was halved in bogey fives.

Fleetwood retained his slender advantage until the 17th, but Horschel holed an eight-foot birdie putt to win the hole.

On the last, Fleetwood had a putt to win the hole and match but his effort missed by a couple of inches.

And on the first extra hole, the par-five 12th, Fleetwood pulled his drive way left and although he scrambled a six, Horschel rolled in a three-footer for par.

Before their quarter-final, Garcia said of his good friend Perez: “He has a high potential to be a Ryder Cup player this year.”

And the Frenchman showed why the Spaniard rates him so highly with a solid round of golf.

Garcia won the opening hole with a par but Perez birdied the next two to go one up and he was two ahead by the ninth.

That lead was extended further when Garcia hit his tee shot into the water when attempting to drive the green on the 13th and Perez completed the win with a birdie on the 15th.

Rahm, ranked third in the world, was the only player in the top 20 to reach the last 16 but he was three down after five holes against Scheffler.

The Spaniard birdied the seventh and ninth holes to reduce the deficit but Scheffler hit back to win the 10th and also claimed the 12th after Rahm hit his second shot into a lake.

Rahm then had a chip-in birdie on the 14th but Scheffler rolled in from eight feet to halve the hole and maintain his three-hole lead. A birdie on the 15th gave Rahm hope but when he missed a birdie attempt on the 17th, he conceded the match.

In the fourth quarter-final, Kuchar won two of the first four holes to be one up and was three ahead after 13. Harman holed a 30-foot putt from the fringe to take the 14th but he was unable to make further inroads.

How the round of 16 unfolded

Fleetwood hit a hole-in-one during his 4&3 victory over South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli.

The Englishman aced the par-three fourth hole as he won four of the first six holes to set up the quarter-final against Horschel, who defeated Kevin Streelman 3&1.

France’s Perez was three up after nine holes against Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre and then won the next three to be six up with six to play.

MacIntyre drove the par-four 13th green as he clawed a hole back.

But the 14th was halved and his fellow Ryder Cup hopeful Perez advanced 5&4 to face Garcia, who won four out of six holes from the ninth to run out a 2&1 winner over Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes.

Scheffler had seven birdies in 13 holes as he crushed Ian Poulter 5&4.

Both Scheffler and Poulter had won all three of their group matches but the Englishman was three down after 10 holes.

Scheffler then halved the 11th with a chip-in birdie after Poulter had holed a 40-foot putt. He also matched Poulter’s birdie on the 13th before winning the match on the next.

Rahm made sure he would play the American by holing an eagle putt on the par-five 16th to defeat Erik van Rooyen 3&2.

Harman fought back from four down after five holes to win a sensational match against fellow American Bubba Watson.

Harman birdied eight holes on the trot from the sixth, winning seven, to be three ahead after 13 but Watson, who won this event in 2018, hit back to win the 15th and 16th holes with birdies to trail by one.

However, Harman won the 17th with a par to triumph 2&1.

In the other all-American last-16 match, Kuchar holed a six-foot birdie putt on the 18th to edge past Jordan Spieth in a tight match that he never led until that final shot.

The semi-finals, third-place play-off and final will all take place on Sunday.

Semi-final draw

B Horschel (US) v V Perez (Fra)

S Scheffler (US) v M Kuchar (US)

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