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Leishman wins to set up Mickelson battle

Marc Leishman has booked a showdown with five-time major winner Phil Mickelson in the knockout round of the World Golf Championships-Match Play in Texas.

The 33-year-old Australian won a sudden-death playoff against England’s Lee Westwood and American Pat Perez with a birdie on the second hole at Austin Country Club on Friday.

With Australian world No.3 and defending WGC-Match Play champion Jason Day withdrawing from the tournament, Perez, Westwood and Leishman were all tied on two points and headed to the par-four first hole to decide the group’s winner.

All three made par on the first, before Leishman hit a stellar approach to eight feet on the second and drained the putt to advance over Westwood (par) and Perez (conceded).

Leishman, fresh off his first US PGA Tour victory in five years at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida, will now face Mickelson in the round of 16 elimination on Saturday (Sunday AEDT).

The left-hander is running hot with three wins in all his group matches, including a 6 and 5 drubbing of fellow American JB Holmes on Friday.

Meanwhile, world No.1 finished his cleansweep of group one with his third consecutive flogging of an opponent, brushing aside Jimmy Walker 5 and 3.

In the all-Spanish showdown between world No.10 Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm, youngster Rahm booked his spot in the elimination round with a 6 and 4 victory.

World No.6 Jordan Spieth failed to make it of of his group, the Texan native halving his match against American Ryan Moore while Japanese surprise packet Hideto Tanihara defeated countryman Yuta Ikeda 3 and 1 to progress from the group.

Also booking spots in the round of 16 were Americans Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Brooks Koepka, Charles Howell III, Bill Haas, Kevin Na and William McGirt, as well as Englishmen Paul Casey and Ross Fisher, Sweden’s Alex Noren and Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen.

ROUND OF 16 MATCHES:

Marc Leishman vs Phil Mickelson

Dustin Johnson vs Zach Johnson

Brooks Koepka vs Alex Noren

Hideto Tanihara vs Paul Casey

Bubba Watson vs Ross Fisher

Bill Haas vs Kevin Na

Jon Rahm vs Charles Howell III

William McGirt vs Soren Kjeldsen.

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