Friday turned out to be the perfect day to visit the World Golf Championship-Dell Match Play. Not only did we have spectacular weather, but Bill and I got to see most of the 64 top-ranked players of the PGA Tour. Tee times for Friday’s 32 matches ranged from 10 AM to 3:10 PM.
The tournament was played at Austin Country Club, located on Lake Austin near the scenic Pennybacker Bridge. We parked our car at Barton Creek Mall and took a shuttle bus north on Loop 360 to a drop-off point under the bridge. After passing through security, we walked along a boardwalk that extended out over the lake. This was a fun way to enter the course grounds, but became a big bottleneck at the end of the day.
After a quick look at the merchandise, games, and food in the Fan Village, Bill and I decided to walk the mostly-hilly front nine while temperatures were still cool (55°). We followed Adam Scott and Bill Haas for a while, and also watched Rory McIllroy, Justin Rose, and others on these earlier holes.
We saw two fantastic approach shots at the 10th green. Sergio Garcia hit the green from 100 feet out and spun backwards right into the cup. An hour later, we saw a similar shot—with the same result—by Patrick Reed. This caused his partner, Phil Mickelson, to lose the hole. We were disappointed that Phil didn’t even walk up to the green where we were standing.
Not to worry…we got to see Phil a little later on the 14th hole. Unfortunately, this turned out to be his last hole of the tournament.
In the afternoon, we mostly stayed around the back nine. Several holes were right next to Lake Austin. The spectators in boats had a better view of the 14th tee than the rest of us.
Locals were rooting for Jordan Spieth, not only because he was ranked number one on the tour, but also because he had played for the University of Texas in Austin before turning pro. Large crowds followed him, so we weren’t able to get close. Jordan won his Friday match, but lost in the next round. Jason Day won the overall tournament on Sunday.
Dell Match Play will be returning to Austin Country Club for the next two years. Based on our experience this year, Bill and I would want to attend again on a weekday when the entire field is playing and the crowds are more spread out.
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