Tiger Woods missed a 4-foot par putt on the 18th hole for a stunning 1-up defeat at the hands of Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard in the quarterfinals of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Saturday in Austin, Texas.
Woods entered the afternoon contest fresh off a victory over Rory McIlroy in the Round of 16 and started hot. He ripped off three consecutive birdies to take a 2-up lead through five holes, but Bjerregaard refused to give in.
The relatively unknown 27-year-old entered the tournament as the No. 50 seed and continued his cinderella run with clutch play down the stretch. He tied the match with a 35-foot eagle putt at the par-5 16th hole and drained a 13-foot birdie putt to keep it all square at 17.
With the match tied at 18, Woods hammered a drive and tried to pull off a best-case wedge shot from just off the fairway. His approach was short and landed in a greenside bunker, from which he knocked it to 4 feet. The match appeared to be headed for extra holes after Bjerregaard missed a 16-footer for birdie. But Woods missed his par try and it was all over, capping a memorable run in his first Match Play appearance since 2013.
“We read it inside left center and the putt went left,” Woods said moments after the match ended. “I went back and hit it again and it did the same thing, so I don’t know. It’s just one of those weird spots. They have a lot of difficult pins out there. This is match play and they’re going to put pins in more difficult spots and they did. We just have to hit good shots.”
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Bjerregaard had never even met Woods prior to Saturday, but he showed serious toughness down the stretch to pull off the upset.
“We had a great match. It was a shame it had to end like this,” Bjerregaard said. “It really didn’t deserve that. Obviously I’m happy to come out on the winning side, but we had a great match and I really enjoyed playing with him today. … To say I’ve beaten Tiger, there’s not a lot of guys who can say that.”