WGC-Dell Match Play: Last 16 Bracket Breakdown and Picks

Rory McIlroy, 2023 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Austin Country Club,(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy, 2023 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Austin Country Club,(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Breaking down the elite 16 who advanced out of group play at the 2023 WGC-Dell Match Play this week in Austin, Texas.

And then there were 16. After three days of enthralling group play action, we are down to just 16 players in the last-ever WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play event at Austin Country Club.

By the time Saturday comes to a close a field of 64 will be trimmed down to a final four. The last 16 and Quarterfinals will be played on Saturday before the semi-finals, third place, and championship match all take place on Sunday to conclude the final professional event held at Austin Country Club for the foreseeable future.

While some of the big names you would expect to see in the latter stages of the competition advanced relatively comfortably from their groups; this event always seems to spring a surprising result or two and this year was no different.

While defending champion and current world number one, Scottie Scheffler, is on to the final 16 in Austin once again, perhaps one of the biggest surprises on Friday came when world number two, Jon Rahm, was thoroughly beaten 5&4 by 2021 WGC-Dell Match Play champion Billy Horschel. It’s a result that sees Horschel into the last 16 for a third consecutive time.

Jon Rahm will be joined by Will Zalatoris (7), Viktor Hovland (8), Collin Morikawa (9), Tony Finau (10), Matt Fitzpatrick (11), Jordan Spieth (12), Tyrrell Hatton (14), and Sungjae Im (16), all of whom suffered a surprise early exit this week.

Some of the top seeds safely into the ‘Sweet 16’ at the WGC-Dell Match Play include, Scottie Scheffler (1), Rory McIlroy (3), Patrick Cantlay (4), Max Homa (5), Xander Schauffele (6), Sam Burns (13), and Cameron Young (15).

An action-packed Saturday awaits, so let’s take a closer look at the final 16 and pick some winners to take another step towards Sunday’s championship match.

WGC-Dell Match Play, 2023 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Austin, PGA Tour, Rory McIlroy
Scottie Scheffler, 2023 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

2023 WGC-Dell Match Play: The Last 16

Scottie Scheffler (1)  vs  J.T. Poston (43)  –  9:08 am EST

The world number one sailed through to the last 16 after topping group one with a 3-0-0 record. Scheffler was tested by Davis Riley in his opening match before finally outlasting the 26-year-old by a 1UP margin, but his other two wins were relatively comfortable ones by 5&4 and 3&2 margins over Alex Noren and Tom Kim respectively.

Last year’s WGC-Dell Match Play champion would face a potential matchup against Jason Day or Matt Kuchar in the Quarterfinals if he can get past J.T. Poston on Saturday morning.

Poston was a somewhat surprising winner of group 16 as he swept aside top-seeded Sungjae Im (1UP), Tommy Fleetwood (3&2), and Maverick McNealy (3&1) to advance to the round of 16. While it’s been an impressive run for Poston this week, it may be one step too far to take down the defending champion as well.

J.T. has had a great run at this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play but Scheffler moves on and keeps the defense of his title alive for one more match at least.

Winner: Scottie Scheffler

Jason Day (32)  vs  Matt Kuchar (59)  –  8:57 am EST

Matt Kuchar’s incredible run in WGC-Match Play events throughout his career is truly remarkable and is a testament to the career he has had. He advanced from one of the more difficult groups this week, at least on paper, with a 2-0-1 record over the three days of play.

The group-clinching win over Si Woo Kim by a massive 7&6 margin was Kuchar’s 36th win in this event. A margin that equals the great Tiger Woods.

Matt also beat group 8’s top seed, Viktor Hovland (3&1), before tieing with Chris Kirk on Thursday.

Jason Day was the second-seeded player in group nine this week behind Collin Morikawa (9), but that didn’t stop the Australian who is having a resurgent year in 2023 from moving on to the last 16. Jason took down Adam Svensson (4&2) and Victor Perez (2&1) before battling the top-seeded Morikawa for group nine honors.

Day outdueled the two-time major champion by a 4&3 margin to win the group and finish with a 3-0-0 record. Kuchar has had a great run, but the slight edge must be given to Day in this match with the winner moving on to take on Scheffler in the next round in all likelihood.

Winner: Jason Day