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It’s safe to say Billy Horschel is somewhat of a match play expert. Last year’s WGC Dell Technologies Match Play champion has continued his fine form into this year and is now chasing down an old record set by Tiger Woods in this event more than 15 years ago.
Back-to-back 3&2 wins over Min Woo Lee and Tom Hoge in rounds one and two respectively have taken the American to seven consecutive victories in this event since losing his second round robin match last year to JT Poston.
But while he is closing in, he still remains six shy of the benchmark (13) set by Woods - who is the only player to ever win back-to-back WGC Match Play titles - from 2003 to 2005.
"You know what, there's stats that he has accomplished and that he has that are just mind blowing," Horschel said. "Things that you just can't imagine and when you think about 13 straight matches won. You don't think that's a big deal, but when you realise it's two years of match play and not losing.
"Even if I win the rest of my matches, that's five, so I'm short by one, so I better come next year and win at least one match."
Horschel’s final match of the group stage is against Thomas Pieters, who sits second in the standings and needs a win to force a play-off. The Belgian was at the centre of a rules controversy on Wednesday when he was denied a free drop from a sprinkler, only for Bryson DeChambeau to be granted one an hour later from the exact same spot.
Despite the setback, Pieters went on to defeat Hoge and continue his fine run of form. Having gone without a win in over two years, the 30-year-old picked up two titles in three starts on the DP World Tour, at last year’s Portugal Masters and January’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
"I don't believe I played with Thomas yet," Horschel added. "Obviously he's a really good player, he's won twice in the last four, five months over on the DP World Tour so obviously he's in some form.
"He won yesterday. I think him and Min are tied right now, but he's a guy who is a uber-talented player, hits it a long way, has a lot of game and I know it's going to be a really good match, especially if he happens to win his match tomorrow so that means it's going to come down to one of us moving on."
A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
What's in Andy's bag?
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)
3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15°)
Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)
Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
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