The Latest: An early exit for defending champion Watson

1 year 4 months 1 week ago Thursday, March 28 2019 Mar 28, 2019 March 28, 2019 12:19 PM March 28, 2019 in Sports - AP - Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Latest on the Dell Technologies Match Play (all times local):

1:40 p.m.

For the third straight year in Match Play, the defending champion will not make it to the weekend.

Bubba Watson was eliminated from group play on Thursday when he lost in 17 holes to Billy Horschel. Watson lost in the opening round to Kevin Na.

A year ago, defending champion Dustin Johnson didn't win a match in group play. The year before that, defending champion Jason Day withdrew during the opening round to cope with his mother's illness.

Meanwhile, Na did not go quietly against Jordan Spieth. He was 6 down with six holes to play before winning the next three holes. Na had a 4-foot birdie putt to cut into the deficit even more, but he missed it. Spieth won, 3 and 2.

Tiger Woods remain 1 down to Brandt Snedeker thanks to a remarkable save. Woods was on his right knee to play a left-handed shot from under the bushes and popped it out to 4 feet to make par on the 10th hole.

1 p.m.

Abraham Ancer delivered the first victory among 32 matches at Austin Country Club with a 3-and-2 victory over Cameron Smith. Moments later, Paul Casey missed a 7-foot par putt and had to settle for a tie with Charles Howell III.

That eliminated Smith from Group 10, one year after the Australian reached the quarterfinals.

Jordan Spieth was having a much easier time Friday. He was 5 up with five to play against Kevin Na.

Tiger Woods was struggling with the putter. He was 2 down to Brandt Snedeker through seven holes.

12:45 p.m.

Elimination could come one day early for some players in the Dell Technologies Match Play.

Among those who cannot afford to lose Thursday at Austin Country are Justin Thomas, Phil Mickelson, Jason Day and Patrick Reed. Players can win their group with one loss, but no more than that. Only two players in the four previous years of group play have advanced with just one win - Patton Kizzire and Byeong Hun An in 2016 each won a match and tied two others.

Tiger Woods, a winner in his opening match, faced Brandt Snedeker. Mickelson played Jim Furyk.

Jordan Spieth halved his opening match. He led for the first time all week after the second hole against Kevin Na, and already was 3 up through seven holes.

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