AUSTIN, TEXAS - Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed improved to 2-0 in the Dell Technologies Match Play and now face off to see who advances to the weekend.
On Thursday, Spieth never trailed in a 4-and-2 victory over Li Haotong. Reed had to rally from a 2-down deficit at the turn to beat Charl Schwartzel. Spieth and Reed have been partners for 11 matches in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. They go head-to-head on Friday to decide who wins the group.
Tony Finau and Alex Noren also improved to 2-0 and play each other in the third round.
Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson both trailed in their matches and faced elimination at Austin Country Club.
Meanwhile, world No. 6 Hideki Matsuyama lost to Australian Cameron Smith 1 up and must win his final round-robin pairing to keep alive his hopes of advancing.
Smith leads Group 5 with two wins after two rounds and is guaranteed to advance to the single-elimination stage with a victory or halve in his next match against Yusaku Miyazato, who remains winless after a 1-up loss to Patrick Cantlay of the United States the same day.
Matsuyama went 1 up after Smith bogeyed the 13th, but opened the door for his opponent to draw level by bogeying the following hole. After halving 14 and 15, Smith went 1 up with an eagle on No. 16 and maintained the lead the rest of the way.
“My tee shots were bad, but my putting was worst of all. I was hopeless,” Matsuyama said. “I created chances, but I couldn’t take advantage of them.”
Matsuyama faces Cantlay in his final group match on Friday. If Smith loses to Miyazato, the winner of the Matsuyama-Cantlay pairing will face the Australian in a playoff to advance. Smith will still advance with a loss if Matsuyama and Cantlay halve their match.
In other round-robin matches, Satoshi Kodaira was eliminated after losing 1 up to Group-14 opponent Mickelson.