World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play - Day Two
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The 2023 WGC-Dell Match Play has been riveting through two days of play in Austin, Texas, and most of the top seeds are still in the mix going into the final part of pool play on Friday. Among them are Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy, the latter of whom hit the shot of the week on Thursday.

A confession: I have not always loved the Match Play event. However, this year -- somewhat coincidentally considering it's about to be over -- I am more into it than ever. Stars have played well through the first few days, but that's not all of it. No, mostly it is the absurd nature of match play itself, which Rahm highlighted before the event began.

"As a player it's just an opportunity to play kind of a different golf, right? It's really the only time throughout the year besides maybe the Ryder Cup where you're playing truly against the person in front of you, which is much more relatable to every sport we play in the world, which is basically about just playing better than the team in front," Rahm said.

"Usually, it's very much about you minding your own business and hopefully beating the other 150 players in the field. It's fun. It's a lot more aggressive. You see more birdies. You see a lot of things happen."

We saw a lot of things happen on Wednesday and maybe even more of them again on Thursday as Day 2 played out at Austin Country Club. Here's a look.

Star resurgence

How about former world No. 1 Jason Day, who has been playing some of the best golf of anyone not named Rahm or Scheffler. Day came into the week ranked No. 4 in strokes gained over the last three months behind Rahm, Scheffler and Max Homa. He went out Thursday and defeated Victor Perez 2 & 1 to move to 2-0-0 on the week. He'll have Collin Morikawa on Friday to try and advance.

"It'll definitely feel like the old-school format [from here on out], which is good," said Day. "The intensity will be so much more than what it has been over the last two days, so that's exciting. I guess the willingness to grind it out is going to be more imperative to handle or take care of business tomorrow.

"I'm just not really looking too far ahead. ... I'm talking about process. I've just got to stick to that process and try and take on every shot the best I can, and then at the end of the day, if that's good enough to beat Collin, great; if not, then go back to the drawing board and get after it again."

Best shot

McIlroy hit his last shot of the round -- a 375-yard drive -- to 4 feet on the final hole to close out Denny McCarthy 2 UP. It was the shot of the day, the week and perhaps the year thus far. Three-hundred-and-seventy-five yards to 4 feet. Outrageous.

"I certainly didn't expect to fly it on the green," said McIlroy. "It's almost one of those, when it's that far much downwind, it's almost like I could have hit 3-wood to get the down slope to get the skid. Like, I was imagining the driver was going to land into the upslope and sort of stay 10, 20 yards short. But as I said, I didn't imagine I could fly it on the green."

Craziest shot

Adam Scott hit the stick on the par-3 11th and went on to lose to Sam Burns 1 UP. If this goes in instead of nearly finding the water, Scott probably halves the match. Thankfully, it stayed out of the water and he tied the hole, but it was still probably the strangest thing that happened Thursday.

"Like you said, there's a lot going on," said Burns, "but at the end of the day, I can only control what I do out there, and I just kind of let the other stuff just happen."

Weirdest par

You probably already know who made it, but if not, here's a recap of Jordan Spieth's 3 on the par-3 7th hole.

Spieth ultimately the match to Taylor Montgomery 2 & 1 and now does not control his own destiny on Friday as Montgomery is 2-0-0 and facing the 1-1-0 Mackenzie Hughes. Spieth made five birdies on the day, but it was his adventurous par that was, somewhat humorously, the most compelling hole of the day.

Least trouble

Scheffler is absolutely rolling toward another Match Play win. He has nine birdies and two eagles through two matches with a showdown against Tom Kim on deck Friday. Every other player in Scheffler's pool has at least one loss, which means if he even gets a half point in a tie with Kim, he advances.

"I think I've had to get through a playoff twice here now the last two years, and to be able to go into [Friday] and to be able to win my match and get through the group would be nice," said Scheffler. "That's what I'll be focused on [Friday] is getting off to a good start and hopefully winning the match."

Rick Gehman is joined by Kyle Porter to break down all 32 matches on Day 2 of the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play. Follow & listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

2023 WGC-Dell Match Play standings

Group 1
Scottie Scheffler (2-0-0)
Tom Kim (1-1-0)
Alex Noren (0-2-0)
Davis Riley (1-1-0)

Group 2
Jon Rahm (1-1-0)
Billy Horschel (1-0-1)
Keith Mitchell (0-1-1)
Rickie Fowler (1-1-0)

Group 3
Rory McIlroy (2-0-0)
Keegan Bradley (1-0-1)
Denny McCarthy (0-1-1)
Scott Stallings (0-2-0)

Group 4
Patrick Cantlay (2-0-0)
Brian Harman (2-0-0)
K.H. Lee (0-2-0)
Nick Taylor (0-2-0)

Group 5
Max Homa (2-0-0)
Hideki Matsuyama (1-1-0)
Kevin Kisner (0-2-0)
Justin Suh (1-1-0)

Group 6
Xander Schauffele (2-0-0)
Tom Hoge (0-2-0)
Aaron Wise (1-1-0)
Cam Davis (1-1-0)

Group 7
Will Zalatoris (0-2-0)
Ryan Fox (1-1-0)
Harris English (1-1-0)
Andrew Putnam (2-0-0)

Group 8
Viktor Hovland (0-2-0)
Chris Kirk (0-1-1)
Si Woo Kim (2-0-0)
Matt Kuchar (1-0-1)

Group 9
Collin Morikawa (1-0-1)
Jason Day (2-0-0)
Adam Svensson (0-1-1)
Victor Perez (0-2-0)

Group 10
Tony Finau (2-0-0)
Kurt Kitayama (1-1-0)
Adrian Meronk (1-1-0)
Christiaan Bezuidenhout (0-2-0)

Group 11
Matt Fitzpatrick (1-1-0)
Sahith Theegala (0-2-0)
Min Woo Lee (1-1-0)
J.J. Spaun (2-0-0)

Group 12
Jordan Spieth (1-1-0)
Shane Lowry (0-2-0)
Taylor Montgomery (2-0-0)
Mackenzie Hughes (1-1-0)

Group 13
Sam Burns (2-0-0)
Seamus Power (1-1-0)
Adam Scott (1-1-0)
Adam Hadwin (0-2-0)

Group 14
Tyrrell Hatton (0-2-0)
Russell Henley (1-1-0)
Lucas Herbert (2-0-0)
Ben Griffin (1-1-0)

Group 15
Cameron Young (2-0-0)
Sepp Straka (0-2-0)
Corey Conners (1-1-0)
Davis Thompson (1-1-0)

Group 16
Sungjae Im (1-1-0)
Tommy Fleetwood (0-1-1)
J.T. Poston (2-0-0)
Maverick McNealy (0-1-1)