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WGC-Cadillac Match Play 2015: Leaderboard Scores and Highlights from Thursday

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 1, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 30:  Jordan Spieth hits his tee shot on the 12th hole during round two of the World Golf Championship Cadillac Match Play at TPC Harding Park on April 30, 2015 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Following a noteworthy opening day at the 2015 WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship, things kicked into gear on Friday. The new format with round-robin matches on the first three days does present unique challenges for everyone, though one bad day no longer means doom. 

In the past, players who lost on Wednesday, like Jason Day and Henrik Stenson, wouldn't have been around for the next four days. Now, they were given an opportunity to right the ship and compete for a title but had to turn things around on Thursday. 

Here's how Day and Stenson, as well as the rest of the field fared during the second day of matches in San Francisco. 

2015 WGC-Cadillac Match Play Results - Thursday
GroupResults
1: Rory McIlroy vs. Brandt Snedeker, Billy Horschel vs. Jason DufnerMcIlroy def. Snedeker (2 Up), Horschel def. Dufner (3 & 2)
2: Jordan Spieth vs. Matt Every, Lee Westwood vs. Mikko IlonenSpieth def. Every (4 & 3), Westwood def. Ilonen (1 Up)
3: Henrik Stenson vs. Brendon Todd, Bill Haas vs. John SendenStenson def. Todd (3 & 2), Senden def. Haas (4 & 3)
4: Bubba Watson vs. Keegan Bradley, Louis Oosthuizen vs. Miguel Angel JimenezWatson def. Bradley (4 & 2), Oosthuizen def. Jimenez (2 Up)
5: Jim Furyk vs. Thongchai Jaidee, Martin Kaymer vs. George CoetzeeJaidee def. Furyk (3 & 1), Coetzee def. Kaymer (19 Holes)
6: Justin Rose vs. Anirban Lahiri, Ryan Palmer vs. Marc LeishmanRose def. Lahiri (19 Holes), Leishman def. Palmer (4 & 3)
7: Jason Day vs. Branden Grace, Zach Johnson vs. Charley HoffmanGrace def. Day (4 & 3), Hoffman def. Johnson (2 & 1)
8: Dustin Johnson vs. Charl Schwartzel, Victor Dubuisson vs. Matt JonesSchwartzel def. Johnson (20 Holes), Jones def. Dubuisson (2 Up)
9: Adam Scott vs. Paul Casey, Chris Kirk vs. Francesco MolinariCasey def. Scott (1 Up), Kirk def. Molinari (2 & 1)
10: Sergio Garcia vs. Bernd Wiesberger, Jamie Donaldson vs. Tommy FleetwoodWiesberger def. Garcia (2 & 1), Fleetwood def. Donaldson (21 Holes)
11: Jimmy Walker vs. Webb Simpson, Ian Poulter vs. Gary WoodlandSimpson def. Walker (19 Holes), Woodland def. Poulter (3 & 2)
12: J.B. Holmes vs. Russell Henley, Brooks Koepka vs. Marc WarrenHolmes def. Henley (19 Holes), Koepka def. Warren (20 Holes)
13: Rickie Fowler vs. Shane Lowry, Graeme McDowell vs. Harris EnglishFowler def. Lowry (1 Up), English def. McDowell (2 & 1).
14: Matt Kuchar vs. Stephen Gallacher, Hunter Mahan vs. Ben MartinKuchar def. Gallacher (3 & 2), Mahan def. Martin (5 & 3)
15: Patrick Reed vs. Danny Willett, Ryan Moore vs. Andy SullivanWillett def. Reed (2 & 1), Sullivan def. Moore (3 & 2)
16: Hideki Matsuyama vs. Joost Luiten, Kevin Na vs. Alexander LevyMatsuyama def. Luiten (2 Up), Na def. Levy (3 & 1)
Source: PGA Tour

After an easy win in the first round on Wednesday, Rory McIlroy faced a strong challenge from Brandt Snedeker before birdies on Nos. 15 and 18 gave him a two-hole advantage.

Snedeker seemed like he was going to pull off the upset with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 11 and 12 to square the match. 

McIlroy started the day in grand fashion with this birdie putt from just off the green on No. 1, via PGA Tour:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Rory McIlroy makes a lengthy birdie from the fringe on No. 1. He's 1 up through 7. #QuickHits http://t.co/SWhRmtXwBb

The world's top-ranked player hasn't taken his foot off the gas through two rounds of match play, with Kelly Tilghman of the Golf Channel being particularly impressed with his ball-striking:

Kelly Tilghman @KellyTilghmanGC

Rory McIlroy is looking smoooooth so far this week in match play. Great ball striking.

With two wins in two days, McIlroy is on the verge of making it to the weekend. His final test will come on Friday against Billy Horschel, who has also won his first two matches. The winner will advance to the Sweet 16 on Saturday. 

Horschel got to this point with a strong win over Jason Dufner, winning three and two after Dufner bogeyed the 16th hole. The 19th-ranked player in the world took to Twitter after his victory to express excitement about playing McIlroy on Friday:

Billy Horschel @BillyHo_Golf

Great last 2 days of golf! Really amped about playing @McIlroyRory 2mrw. Hopefully we can put on a great show. @WGC_MatchPlay

In group eight, Dustin Johnson and Charl Schwartzel provided one of the best matches. They took 20 holes after Schwartzel hit birdies on Nos. 16 and 18 to square things up. He got the win with a birdie on the final hole. 

An eagle from Schwartzel on the 12th hole kick-started his comeback, as Johnson birdied the same hole that would have put him up by four. Here's how Schwartzel's shot looked, via PGA Tour:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

A hole-out eagle from the shadows gets Charl Schwartzel to 2 down with six to play. #QuickHits http://t.co/lzX4the53X

Jordan Spieth and Matt Every played one of the most fascinating matches of the event to this point. Every led the 2015 Masters champion by two holes after a birdie on No. 5, but Spieth would go on one of those runs like he showed at Augusta with six birdies in a seven-hole stretch from Nos. 6 through 12 to win easily. 

Birdies are nothing new for Spieth through two days, as Tilghman noted the 21-year-old is hitting them on nearly half of his holes:

Kelly Tilghman @KellyTilghmanGC

Jordan Spieth has birdied 45% of his match play holes this week to go 2-0 in pool play. That's just downright dirty.

Spieth's putting continues to be unfair. He doesn't have to be long off the tee if the short game is so masterful. Per Golf Central, the Texas native hit six putts of at least 10 feet through 14 holes:

Golf Central @GolfCentral

Jordan Spieth just rolled in his 6th putt of 10 feet or more for the day, leads Matt Every 3UP thru 14. http://t.co/jwb8xaYu2N

Good luck to anyone hoping to compete with Spieth if he's going to be playing that well on the greens. 

Day, who won this event last year under the old rules, is finding the 2015 version to be difficult. He has lost his first two matches following Thursday's defeat at the hands of Branden Grace. The Australian did mount a comeback after falling behind three holes after No. 5, closing the gap to one heading into the turn. 

A bogey by Day on No. 11 followed by a birdie by Grace on No. 12 spelled the end of Day's chances. His day officially ended with a bogey on No. 15 to give the South African star a 1-1 mark heading into Friday's final round-robin match against Charley Hoffman (2-0). 

Most of the top players took care of their business Thursday. Jim Furyk was the highest-ranked star (No. 5) to lose, but everyone in group five is 1-1 with one more match coming for all of them. 

The new format has provided players who struggled early some breathing room in order to fix things. That sense of urgency will return with tomorrow's final round-robin stage. The good news is things are still set up for a McIlroy-Spieth championship.  

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