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Sunday's golf: Horschel outlasts Scheffler in sloppy final of Match Play

Doug Ferguson
Associated Press
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Austin, Texas — Billy Horschel had just enough left in the tank to win the Dell Technologies Match Play on Sunday with plenty of help from Scottie Scheffler in a sloppy end to the longest week in golf.

Horschel made only one birdie in the championship match, chipping in from 40 feet on the fifth hole, and left the big mistakes to the 24-year-old Scheffler in winning 2 and 1.

Billy Horschel holds his trophy after winning the Dell Technologies Match Play Championship golf tournament Sunday in Austin, Texas.

Horschel, who had never reached the weekend in four previous appearances at this World Golf Championship, won six out of the seven matches over 122 holes he played at Austin Country Club. He won for the sixth time on the PGA Tour, and his fifth individual title.

“It was one of those days where I didn't play very good,” Horschel said, still able to smile because of the outcome. “I was just grinding it out.”

It ended a great run for Scheffler, a Texas graduate who had to beat three former Match Play champions and two players from the top 10 in the world to reach the championship match.

He had the support of the Austin crowd that occasionally shouted out, “Hook 'em," and Scheffler obliged.

He pulled a tee shot on the par-5 sixth that required him to take a penalty drop away from the boundary fence. He pulled his approach on the par-5 12th into the water. He hooked another drive off the two-story hospitality tent left of the 15th fairway. Through it all, he managed to stay in the match.

Scheffler made par and halved the hole after the penalty drop on No. 5. Even after hitting into the water on the 12th, he had a 10-foot par putt to win the hole after Horschel hit a wedge into the bunker. Scheffler missed to stay 2 down.

Horschel hit another wedge into a back bunker on par-5 16th. This time, Horschel got up-and-down to save par and halve the hole, and he won the match when Scheffler missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the 17th.

Matt Kuchar won the consolation match over Victor Perez of France. Kuchar, trying to tie Tiger Woods' record with a fourth appearance in the championship match, didn't make a putt longer than 3 feet, 6 inches in his semifinal loss to Scheffler.

Perez wasn't much better. He lost three holes on the back nine to Horschel by making bogey or worse.

The wind had a lot to do with that, with gusts raging through the trees in the morning and still causing problems in the afternoon. The championship match didn't feature a birdie since Horschel's chip-in on the fifth hole.

Scheffler, who made 15 birdies in 31 holes to beat Ian Poulter and Jon Rahm on Saturday, had only four birdies in his two matches Sunday.

PGA

Joel Dahmen won the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship for his first PGA Tour victory, avoiding a playoff when the wind pushed playing partner Rafael Campos' final birdie try to the left.

Dahmen closed with a 2-under 70 on the windswept seaside course. He started fast with a 40-footer for birdie on No. 1 and added three more next six holes, then played the last 11 in 2 over with bogeys on par-3 11th and par-5 14th and a series have hard-earned pars.

“I was on cruise control today,” Dahmen said. “It’s really hard to win golf tournaments. I knew it was hard, but I can’t believe how hard it actually is. I was in control, I felt like I was doing — my body was just doing other things. Thankfully, I had a couple good up-and-downs there on 16 and 17. And I don’t know how I tapped in that 2- or 3-footer there, but thankfully it went in.”

The 33-year-old Dahmen finished at 12-under 276. He didn't get into the Masters with the victory because the tournament was played opposite the WGC Match Play event in Texas, but did wrap up a PGA Championship berth and a spot at Kapalua in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Campos, the Puerto Rican player whose family has long had a home in the Dominican, had a 71.

“It wasn’t meant to be,” Campos said.

Winless on the tour, he bogeyed the par-3 17th to drop out of a tie for the lead and watched the wind move his 15-footer off-line in the last few inches on the par-4 18th.

“I was so nervous,” Campos said. “I kind of really wanted to embrace that opportunity and it was so cool to have basically the outcome in my hands. ... It was really cool to actually have that much pressure.”

His only birdies came on the two front-nine par 5s.

Sam Ryder had a 67 to tie for second with Campos.

Graeme McDowell, the 2019 winner, and Michael Gligic tied for fourth at 10 under. McDowell closed with a 69, and Gligic shot 71.

Defending champion Hudson Swafford (70) and Emiliano Grillo (71) were 9 under.

Dahmen won after missing the weekend cuts in seven of his previous eight starts.

“It’s been a rough start to the calendar year,” Dahmen said. “Golf was really hard for me these last seven or eight weeks and to turn around to this is pretty incredible.”

LPGA

 Inbee Park opened her LPGA Tour season with a wire-to-wire victory Sunday in the Kia Classic on the eve of the first major championship of the season.

The Hall of Famer finally put it all together at Aviara Golf Club, winning her 21st LPGA Tour title after finishing second on the scenic course in 2010, 2016 and 2019. She tied LPGA Founder Marilynn Smith for 25th place on the victory list and moved within four of matching Se Ri Pak for the South Korean mark.

Park closed with a 2-under 70 for a five-stroke victory — the same margin she took into the day — over Lexi Thompson and Amy Olson. Park finished at 14-under 274, opening with rounds of 66, 69 and 69.

After making three birdies in a four-hole stretch around the turn, Park bogeyed the 12th and 13th, then got the two strokes back with a 40-foot eagle putt on the short par-4 16th. She three-putted the 18th for a bogey.

The 32-year-old Park, ranked fourth in the world, now heads to the desert for the ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage. She won at Mission Hills in 2013 for the third of her seven major titles. She also won in her first LPGA Tour start of the year in 2013, accomplishing the feat in the Honda LPGA Thailand.

Park gave the tour its first international winner of the year, after Americans Jessica and Nelly Korda and Austin Ernst swept the first three tournaments.

Thompson bogeyed the last for a 69 to match Olson at 9 under.

Top-ranked Jin Young Ko was 8 under after a 70.

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