AUSTIN, Texas — There’s no question that Austin Country Club is a place where Scottie Scheffler, who starred at the nearby University of Texas, feels calm, cool and comfortable.
Of course, the question now is if there’s a place the reigning WGC-Technologies Match Play champion doesn’t feel at ease.
For example, during Saturday morning’s Round of 16 match against smooth-putting J.T. Poston, Scheffler struggled through the front nine and found himself 2 down with four holes to play.
Scheffler still didn’t sweat, posting birdies on Nos. 15 and 17 and roaring back to beat Poston 1 up to advance to the quarterfinals for the third straight year.
Poston, who failed to get out pool play in his only previous appearance at this event, was happy with his showing, even though he failed to close out the world’s top-ranked player.
“I knew I wasn’t going to get a whole lot of J.T. chants out there, which is expected,” Poston said. “But I played great, played solid. Didn’t want to give him any there, but unfortunately gave him a couple down the stretch and ended up costing me. For the most part, I played great all week, today included.”
Scheffler, meanwhile, said he made too many mental errors in falling behind Poston, but his caddie Ted Scott helped keep him even-keeled.
“I was pretty frustrated. I felt like I had given away holes. He earned a few of them, but there was a couple in there where I gave them — I hit it out of bounds on a par-5, made two bogeys, so that part was frustrating,” Scheffler said. “I just did a good job of staying patient, Teddy kept me in it mentally and we were able to make some birdies down the stretch and close out the match.”
In other early matches, Cameron Young continued his hot hand, rolling past former champ Billy Horschel 5 and 4, while Kurt Kitayama also had little trouble getting through to the semi-finals, topping Andrew Putnam 6 and 5.
“I did play really well and was thankful for the couple mistakes he made early. It’s not like Billy to do that,” said Young, who will now face Kitayama in the quarters. “He’s one of the most intense guys you’ll find out here, and I was totally ready for him to come out of the gates hot, and once he did make those mistakes, there was always a chance he just starts making putts, which is scary. Happy to get that one over with.”
Other winners included Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele, who will square off in the quarters, as well as Sam Burns and Mackenzie Hughes, who will also meet.