Rory McIlroy edges into WGC-Cadillac Match Play semi-finals after victory over Paul Casey

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

World number one Rory McIlroy needed just one hole on Sunday to beat Paul Casey and belatedly complete the semi-final line-up in the WGC-Cadillac Match Play in San Francisco.

While Danny Willett, Gary Woodland and Jim Furyk all enjoyed comfortable victories on Saturday to advance to the semi-finals, McIlroy and Casey could not be separated after 21 holes of their quarter-final at Harding Park.

Casey was one up with two holes to play only to three-putt the 17th, while both players missed chances to win in extra holes before agreeing it was too dark to continue.

Play resumed at 6:45am local time on Sunday and McIlroy two-putted from around 90 feet on the par-five first for a winning birdie after Casey was unable to get up and down from heavy rough after his three-wood approach ran through the green.

That meant top seed McIlroy advanced to face fifth seed Furyk in the last four, with Willett taking on Woodland in the first semi-final.

Casey had been sick overnight but refused to use that as an excuse, telling Sky Sports 4: “I saw my lunch again last night and just (felt) very weak, although I hit two great shots into the first and got a very sticky lie at the back of the green.

“The place it affected me most was actually looking down on the chip, I felt nauseous looking down. But I have nothing to complain about, I had an opportunity yesterday and did not shut the door.

“It’s unfortunate but in seasons as long as ours there are moments through the year when you get sick. I’m a big fan of ‘beware the injured or sick golfer’ and I probably hit the best two shots on the first I have all week.

“My expectations were low but they did not stop me from trying. I am not going to put the par down to anything other than I should have hit the green in two or finished it yesterday.”

The late finish on Saturday meant McIlroy had to watch the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao on television in the media centre at Harding Park rather than from his ringside seat in Las Vegas.

“Honestly I am sort of glad I did not make it because it was sort of an anti-climax and Mayweather did what he usually does and danced around the ring and outpointed him,” McIlroy said.

“I am glad to be here and hopefully I can finish the week off well.”