Dell Match Play rookie Brian Harman re-wrote the script to send Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy home on Friday.
Playing for the first time in this event, Harman advanced to the Round of 16 by knocking off last week’s winner at Bay Hill and in some fashion.
McIlroy’s bogey at the 3rd hole gave Harman the lead, and the American never gave it back. Harman was 3 up at the turn after knocking his approach on the 9th to five feet for birdie. That began a stretch of four birdies in five holes that allowed Harman to build on his advantage.
In 49 holes played, Harman has trailed after just two of them.
Meanwhile, it was a disappointing week for McIlroy, who won this event in 2015 but succumbed to a crushing 5 & 3 loss.
‘Rory did not play his best golf today,’ said Harman.
‘I played extremely well. I’m proud of the way I came out. Rory is an intimidating guy. He hits it a mile. Especially what he did last week. I kind of had this circled this week and I’m glad I came out and played well… I made some birdies.
‘Just had the one X on the card, No 12. I made some putts. Rory started playing a little bit better on the back nine, but I was able to make some birdies and keep the momentum going.’
Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
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