MCCARTHY: Horschel wins WGC Match Play … Busy golf Sunday for Canadians

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They say when running from a bear you only have to outrun the guy next to you. Same goes for match play, except there’s no bear, and you’re just walking on a golf course.

That was the story on Sunday as Billy Horschel didn’t bring his A-game to the final of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, but brought enough for a 2&1 win over Scottie Scheffler at Austin Country Club in Texas.

“So many emotions and turns of tide,” Horschel said after the win. “It was just one of those days where I didn’t play very well. I didn’t hit it very good and I didn’t feel very good with my swing so I just grinded it out.”

The 2014 FedEx Cup champion adds a WGC title to his resume after beating Victor Perez in the morning semifinal and Scheffler in the championship match.

“I had two opponents that played really good today but just didn’t make any putts, and I did and that’s the difference today,” Horschel said.

It was also a win for good karma as Horschel gained a reputation during the week as a generous opponent, frequently conceding putts to his opponents that others would not. Early in Sunday’s final, Horschel conceded a two-putt from 35 feet to Scheffler. Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee called it the most baffling decision he had ever seen in match play.

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“I think everyone knows I’m a pretty positive guy,” Horschel said. “Sure, I get emotional, I kick myself in the butt, but it never affects me on the next golf shot. I always think something good is coming.”

Horschel went 2-1 in round-robin play before defeating Kevin Streelman and Tommy Fleetwood in Saturday’s first knockout matches.

Matt Kuchar beat Frenchman Perez 2&1 in Sunday’s third-place match.

Canadian Mackenzie Hughes had a successful week. He made it out of group play and into the weekend knockout rounds, where he lost in the round of 16 to Sergio Garcia 2&1 on Saturday.

“I love the fact that it’s just you versus one other guy and there’s nothing else to worry about,” Hughes said. “Really it’s not about shooting 65, it’s just about beating that guy and whatever that takes that day. There’s something very simple about it, very pure.”

Corey Conners was red-hot coming into the week, but dropped all three of his matches, so it was Hughes who carried the Canadian flag. Hughes went 2-0-1 in round robin play, defeating Paul Casey and Webb Simpson, before playing Talor Gooch to a draw.

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“Stroke play, there’s a lot of different things going on, there’s so many guys in play,” Hughes said. “Match play it’s just mano a mano and it’s kind of fun, we don’t get to do it very often.”

Playing in his first WGC Match Play, Hughes who took home $189,000.

While 64 of the best players in the world were in Texas, there was thrilling golf taking place at the PGA Tour’s opposite-field Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on Sunday.

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With gusting wind whipping off the ocean, Canadian Michael Gligic, American Joel Dahmen, and Puerto Rican Rafael Campos tried to keep their hats, and their heads, on straight down the stretch as they all battled for that life-changing first win on tour.

Playing in the penultimate group, Gligic arrived on the 16th tee in a three-way tie for the lead at 12-under, but bogeyed two of his final three holes in brutally difficult conditions to finish at 10-under.

“Anytime you’re in contention regardless of what tour it’s on, you can always use that and build off,” Gligic said. “Obviously with being on the PGA Tour for me now, I can definitely use this next time and hopefully I can finish a little stronger. Those finishing holes are pretty tough.”

It was Dahmen who got through the final three holes — coined the Devils’ Elbow — unscathed, getting up-and-down from off the green on the windswept 16th and 17th holes to earn his first PGA Tour victory.

“It’s really hard to win golf tournaments,” an emotional Dahmen said on the green after the win. “I knew it was hard, but I can’t believe how hard it actually is. I was in control, my body was just doing other things.”

Dahmen shot a two-under 70 on Sunday for a 13-under total and a one-stroke victory over playing partner Campos, who was mid-fist-pump on the 72nd green when the wind blew his tying birdie putt just offline inches from the hole. Sam Ryder finished tied with Campos one stroke back of Dahmen at 12-under.

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Burlington, Ont. native Gligic (71) ended up tied for fourth with Graeme McDowell, his best finish on the PGA Tour.

“We just played pretty solid all around,” Gligic said of his week. “We had a couple mistakes on day one, but other than that we just kept the ball in front of us and kind of kept it on the right side of the hole and was able to kind of capitalize when we got chances.”

All four Canadians in the field made the cut. David Hearn made the most of his Sunday, shooting a six-under 66 to move into a tie for 13th at six-under. Roger Sloan tied for 22nd at four-under, and Taylor Pendrith finished at two-under, tied for 34th.

Canadian Adam Svensson improved his odds of making a return to the PGA Tour on Sunday, winning the Korn Ferry Tour’s Club Car Championship at the Landings Club in Savannah, Ga.

Svensson made a birdie putt on the second playoff hole versus Max McGreevy to claim his second Korn Ferry victory. The 27-year-old from Surrey, B.C. shot a six-under 66 on Sunday to get into the playoff at 17-under par.

Svensson played on the PGA Tour in 2019.

Recently un-retired Canadian Maude-Aimee Leblanc finished tied for second on the LPGA’s developmental Symetra Tour on Sunday. She shot an even-par 72 to finish the week at seven-under at the IOA Championship in Beaumont, California … Canadian Drew Nesbitt shot a five-under 67 to finish runner-up at the Mexico Open at 20-under on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica.

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