Harris English defeated Rory McIlroy in 19 holes in the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. English will face Jim Furyk in the third round tomorrow.
English was 2-up with five holes to play, but McIlroy birdied the 14th, 15th, and 16th holes to take a 1-up lead. On 17, English drilled a 19-footer for birdie to even the match going down 18.
After halving 18, English won on the first playoff hole with a par.
English said he had to bring his “A” game against Rory:
I knew it was going to be a battle coming in. Rory is an unbelievable player, and has seemed to have found his game the last couple of months. I knew going into it I was going to have to bring my “A” game, and put a lot of pressure on him to end up taking the victory.
I was 2‑up with 5 to play, and then I was 1‑down and 2 to play. It was a little wake up call.
Rory hit some really good shots. That shot he hit on 16 was unbelievable. I was thinking to myself it was going to be a good par hole. 215 yards to the flag and blowing really good in our face. But he stands up there and hits it five feet. I was like, all right, here we go.
I knew I had to do something on 17 and 18. I hit a really good drive on 17. Didn’t hit my wedge shot quite like I wanted to, but left myself with a decent look at it, and poured it right in the center.
But it was an awesome match. This is kind of what you play for, and to both be playing pretty well, and then grinding it out.