Cameron Smith took control of his group at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play with a fighting victory over fifth seed Hideki Matsuyama.
The lead changed hands four times during the course of the match with the dramatic turns of events coming at the par-5 16th hole. With the match all square and Matsuyama on the green for three, Smith took a lob wedge from the heavy rough beside the green (as per many American tournament golf courses) and holed it for eagle.
Club face wide open 😨 Ball on the down slope 😨
What a shot Cam Smith. pic.twitter.com/HXpPCGodkD
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) March 23, 2018
Matusyama had a chance to get the match back to all-square at the next hole but his birdie missed shaved the hole. Smith managed to half the last hole and secure his second win in a row.
A third victory tomorrow against winless Yusaku Miyazato will see Smith progress to the knockout stage of the event. A loss will see Smith finish in a tie at the top of the group and a sudden-death scenario will take place.
Smith also has another big incentive to get through to the knockout section of the tournament.
Currently perched at 50th in the world golf rankings, Smith needs to finish the week inside the top-50 to earn himself an automatic berth in the year’s first major, The Masters. A win against Miyazato tomorrow may just be enough to earn him that prestigious invitation for a second time.
Smith played his first MAsters Tournament in 2016, making the cut and finishing in a tie for 55th place.
Jason Day is also still in with a chance of getting though to the knockout stage of the WGC Dell Match Play despite losing his second round match 3&1 to Jason Dufner. Day held a 1up lead through 12 holes before Dufner got on a tear, finishing his final five holes 5-under par including three birdies and an eagle.
Marc Leishman won’t be progressing through to the final 16 after second consecutive loss, this time losing 3&2 to Bubba Watson.