Noren Charges Into WGC – Dell Match Play Semi-finals
Alex Noren will face Kevin Kisner in the semi-finals of the WGC - Dell Technologies Match Play after beating Cameron Smith 4 and 2 on Saturday afternoon.
After taking down Patrick Reed in the last 16 earlier in the day, the Swede led from start to finish as he saw off Smith with minimal fuss.
Justin Thomas will take on Bubba Watson in the other semi-final, knowing victory will take him to World Number One – regardless of the result in the final.
Kisner pulled off the biggest win of the day in his quarter-final encounter with match play specialist Ian Poulter, winning 8 and 6 thanks after taking five holes in a row on the front nine.
Watson beat Kiradech Aphibarnrat 5 and 3 in the top match, while Thomas was a 2 and 1 winner against countryman Kyle Stanley.
Noren got off to a flying start against Smith, nonchalantly rolling in his 25-foot birdie putt at the first to go one up at the earliest opportunity.
The World Number 17 then made further birdies at the fifth and sixth to take a three-hole lead. But after Noren put his tee-shot into a bush at the short seventh, he carded a bogey at the eighth to lose two holes in quick succession.
Smith had a good chance to level things up at the tenth but he missed his birdie putt from seven feet to let Noren off the hook. And the Swede took full advantage, tapping in from five feet for a two to go two up.
The Australian missed another birdie putt at the 12th - and with it an opportunity to close the gap back to one - and Noren once again made him pay, knocking in from close range for a birdie to win the 13th and go three up.
Smith then kept his head above water at the 14th as he chipped in for par from the fringe of the green to halve the hole.
Noren finally closed out the win at the 16th when Smith conceded after failing to find the green with his fourth shot.
Alex Noren said: “I'm so happy to be in the semis. I wanted that last year when I lost to Dustin. I’m really looking forward to it. It's going to be a great day. It's a fun course to play, especially match play.
“I actually played against Kevin a lot when we played in college golf. We played on rival teams, and we played a lot of tournaments together. I don't know how many times I played with him. But I've only played with him once since then. But he has a very steady game, so I'm expecting that I have to do something very good to have to beat him.
“It would be a pretty big deal if I was to win this tournament. I remember when Stenson won how big a deal it was back home and around the world so it would be pretty cool to do that and a pretty cool way to get my first win in America in such a big tournament.”
Noren Charges Into WGC – Dell Match Play Semi-finals, 25th March 2018, 11:01 AM