SAN FRANCISCO: World number one Rory McIlroy and England’s Paul Casey battled to a standstill in the $9.25 million WGC-Championship Match Play in California on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) and face a dawn start to resume their match for a place in the last four.
In near-darkness at Harding Park, the two European stars finished all square after 21 holes and will continue their sudden death battle on Sunday morning at 6:45 am.
McIlroy missed a six-foot birdie putt to snatch victory on the third sudden death hole leaving Casey relieved to have survived.
“I dodged a couple of bullets but I gave him a couple too,” Casey said. “I’m glad we’re coming back tomorrow, I thought that was it for the day and the week,” he added referring to McIlroy’s missed putt.
McIlroy was left ruing his inability to close out the win.
“It was good, it was back and forth,” he said. “I had a couple of opportunities to close it out but I couldn’t quite convert.
“It was getting pretty dark so we’ll come back in the morning and try again.”
McIlroy, superb in a 6&5 thrashing of Hideki Matsuyama in the last 16, started his quarter-final as he had finished the previous round, claiming a birdie on the first to go one up.
But Casey hit back with three birdies of his own on the front nine to go two up at the turn.
McIlroy slowly hauled himself back into contention, draining a 20-foot birdie putt on the 10th to reduce Casey’s lead.