Rory Mcilroy crashed out of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play after he had to settle for half a point in his game with Cameron Smith.
Needing victory – plus a favour from Lanto Griffin who played Ian Poulter – McIlroy fell short in his bid. In any case, Poulter defeated Griffin 2 and 1 to make it into the last 16.
McIlroy’s battle with Smith was intense. The No25 in the world birdied the first to go one up and then went two up after four holes, when his bogey at the par 3 was enough to trump McIlroy’s double bogey.
It would get better for the Ulsterman. His steady play found its reward on the eighth when his par bettered Smith’s bogey. One down, 10 to play, McIlroy knew he could work his way into this one.
But Smith was resilient. He birdied the 10th to go two up again – got pegged back on 13, when McIlroy got an incredible eagle at the par four.
The Down-man was level after 16 – but not for long, Smith getting a birdie on 17 to go one up before McIlroy birdied the last to halve the match. That wasn’t enough to see him progress, Poulter’s consistency ensures he gets that prize.