Robert MacIntyre’s memorable run at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play continued as he progressed to the last-16 thanks to a halved match against American Adam Long.
The left-hander, fresh from a halved match with world number one Dustin Johnson, was three down at the turn to the world number 67 after losing holes 5, 8 and 9.
But the 24-year-old has saved his best golf for the back nine this week and came roaring back by winning three of the next four holes to get back to all square, rolling home a six-foot birdie putt on the 13th to level matters.
A birdie at 15 put Long back in front, but MacIntyre won the final hole with an eagle after hitting an incredible drive to two feet.
Don’t mind @Robert1Lefty …
Just driving the 371-yard 18th to move on to the Round of 16. pic.twitter.com/vjvM8AjhWe
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 26, 2021
And Kevin Na’s one-hole victory against Johnson in the other group one match ensured MacIntyre’s progression.
MacIntyre described his tee shot on 18 as “probably one of the best and one of the luckiest golf shots I’ve hit in my life.”
He said he will take great pride from making it out of a group containing the world’s top ranked player.
He said: “It’s massive for my confidence.
“I was three down through nine, and my caddie Mike gave me a shake on the 10th tee, saying, ‘come on, we’ve got to keep fighting here’.
“That’s something that I normally always have inside me, but my head was down through nine and I didn’t know where to go but we just kept giving ourselves chances, and it happened to turn around at the right moment.”
Robert MacIntyre is making the most of his Match Play debut. 👏
The young Scotsman comes out on top in Group 1.
He'll face Victor Perez in the Round of 16. pic.twitter.com/23t05Wfh6g
— WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play (@DellMatchPlay) March 26, 2021
MacIntyre will face Dundee-based Frenchman Victor Perez in the last 16.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) March 26, 2021
Meanwhile, Tommy Fleetwood survived a late scare to beat US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and advance to the last 16.
Fleetwood was in charge of his own destiny after taking 1.5 points from his opening two matches and was three up with five to play against DeChambeau, only to lose the 14th to a birdie and the 15th after three-putting from long range.
After an errant drive on the 18th it looked certain that Fleetwood would have to settle for half a point and a play-off with France’s Antoine Rozner, but the Ryder Cup star scrambled an unlikely par to secure a hard-fought one up victory.
Fleetwood had won the first hole with a par and the fifth and sixth with birdies, the latter coming after DeChambeau three-putted the par-five for par.
A conceded birdie saw Fleetwood move four up after DeChambeau misjudged his chip from the back of the seventh green, but Fleetwood was then unable to get up and down from a bunker on the next.
Worse was to come on the 11th as Fleetwood dumped two balls into the water on the par three, but the former European number one bounced back immediately to win the 12th with a birdie.
DeChambeau almost drove the green on the short par-four 13th despite the hole playing into the wind, but missed from five feet for birdie to remain three down.
A birdie from four times the distance on the 14th gave DeChambeau renewed hope and when Fleetwood three-putted the 15th from the fringe, the gap was down to a single hole.
DeChambeau had the upper hand on the par-five 16th after finding the green in two, but Fleetwood – who had found a bunker off the tee – holed from 15 feet for birdie and forced his opponent to hole from six feet for a half.
Fleetwood’s pulled drive on the last finished in a dry water hazard but he was able to blast the ball towards the green and got up and down for par to secure the win after DeChambeau missed from eight feet for birdie.
Fleetwood will face Dylan Frittelli in the last 16 after the South African won group 12 despite losing to Will Zalatoris on Friday.
Elsewhere South Africa’s Daniel Van Tonder defeated Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond in a play-off at the Kenya Savannah Classic to claim his first European Tour title and a fifth win in his last 13 events.
Van Tonder birdied the third extra hole at Karen Country Club after the leading pair had finished tied on 21 under par following a day of remarkable low scoring.