Fearless Andy Sullivan, an up-and-comer from England and two-time winner on the European Tour, decided to go for broke Thursday and fire at almost every pin at TPC Harding Park.
And it worked — he eliminated Puyallup’s Ryan Moore in pool play at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play.
Moore lost his second consecutive match by the same score — 3 and 2 — to fall to 0-2 in Group No. 15. All he can do now is play the spoiler role Friday and knock fellow American Patrick Reed out of the tournament, too.
“I will try and be a spoiler,” Moore said. “It is my only choice at this point.”
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Much like Danny Willett did to Moore on Wednesday, Sullivan created separation in a short span. He made three birdies in a four-hole stretch on the front nine to build a 3-up advantage.
The last one during that spurt came at the seventh hole, where he knocked a 7-iron approach shot just short of the hole, and sank a 3-foot putt.
At No. 11, Sullivan curled in a 21-footer for birdie to go 4-up.
It was surely an impressive — and bold — display of shot-making by the Englishman, who needs to beat Willett on Friday to have a chance to advancing to the round of 16.
“He hit literally every golf shot directly at the pin all day long,” Moore said. “And if he didn’t, he made the putts.”
Moore had his own run, starting with a 60-foot holeout from the right greenside bunker at the 13th hole for birdie to trim the deficit to 3-down.
A hole later — arguably the toughest par 4 on the course — Moore hit a 6-iron to a back-right pin location from 196 yards that stopped 5 feet left of the hole. He made the birdie putt to get another hole back.
But at No. 15, Sullivan stuck a wedge approach to 16 inches for a conceded birdie. Moore left his 25-foot birdie chip from the back of the green well short.
“The reality is, I didn’t play good enough either day,” Moore said. “There was reasonably good golf played against me, but I had my chances. I hit terrible golf shots and missed putts.”
Elsewhere, Rickie Fowler made three big putts in a row and won his second straight match to beat Shane Lowry on the 18th hole and secure his spot in the round of 16.
No. 1 seed Rory McIlroy and No. 2 Jordan Spieth also won their second matches, but they still could be going home Friday if they lose. McIlroy will play Billy Horschel (2-0), and Spieth meets 2-0 Lee Westwood to determine who advances to the weekend.
Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen each won their matches to set up a win-or-go-home match Friday in their group.
Lydia Ko shot a 4-over 75 to put her career-long LPGA Tour cuts streak of 50 in jeopardy in the North Texas Shootout in Irving, Texas. Ko is 117th in the 144-player field — leaving the top-ranked New Zealander nine strokes behind leaders Juli Inkster, Cristie Kerr and Sydnee Michaels. … Tad Ridings had a 5-under 67 for a one-shot lead after the first round of the Web.com Tour’s United Leasing Championship in Newburgh, Indiana. Seattle native Jeff Gove was at even-par 72, and former UW golfer Brock Mackenzie was at 2 over.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.