Jordan Spieth's run at the 2016 WGC-Dell Match Play came to an end in the round of 16 on Saturday, when Louis Oosthuizen knocked out the world's top-ranked player 4 and 2.
Per Sean Martin of PGATour.com (via World Golf Championships' official website), Spieth's day was done after two par putts on Nos. 15 and 16 that left him unable to close the gap.
Making the loss even more devastating for Spieth—or impressive for Oosthuizen, depending on your perspective—is that it came in his backyard, per Golf Channel's John Feinstein:
John Feinstein @JFeinsteinBooks
Louis Oosthuizen just won the ultimate road match--beating Jordan Spieth IN AUSTIN. He hooked the 'Horn.3/26/2016, 8:17:11 PM
Spieth's round started slowly, as he fell behind Oosthuizen on the fourth hole with a bogey and was unable to even things up after that. He did get back to within one on the 10th hole thanks to a birdie, but Oosthuizen took the shot right back on No. 11, when he made a bogey after both players opened the hole with shots in the water.
It's fitting that match play would produce a memorable upset in March, since the NCAA men's basketball tournament often features juggernauts being upended earlier than anyone predicts. This is a nice reminder that no one is immune to the madness.
Of course, Oosthuizen hardly qualifies as a Cinderella. He's a former British Open champion who has also finished second at the Masters and U.S. Open in his career. The 33-year-old is a match-play darling in the way No. 10-seeded Syracuse is a Cinderella in this year's NCAA tournament.
Per ESPN Stats & Info, Oosthuizen has fared well in WGC match-play events lately:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Louis Oosthuizen beat Jordan Spieth at WGC-Dell Match Play. Oosthuizen has won 11 of his last 13 matches in WGC Match Play.3/26/2016, 5:41:30 PM
Speaking to Martin after the match was over, Spieth put a positive spin on where his game is.
"From Tuesday to now I feel much more confident than I did about Augusta," he said. "I played very, very solid the last few days and, most importantly, I made a lot of birdies, and that's something I haven't been doing as of late, capitalizing when I do hit those good wedges or iron shots in."
Next week's Shell Houston Open will provide Spieth with one more chance to get his game right before traveling to Augusta on April 7. He had success at the pre-Masters tournament last year, finishing second, and catapulted to a green jacket.
This loss won't define Spieth's year, but it could be the launching pad for him to go on a run like he had in 2015.
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