Perez shines on WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play debut
Victor Perez made further strides in the European Points Race after reaching the semi-finals at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play on his debut at this unique head-to-head event.
Finishing in fourth place, his best finish at a WGC event, saw Perez climb three places into sixth in the World Points List to occupy the second automatic qualifying spot with 187.37 points.
The second World Golf Championships event of the season offers players and fans their first glimpse of match play golf and Perez wasted no time showing European Ryder Cup Captain Pádraig Harrington his match play skills when he defeated Australia’s Marc Leishman 2&1 in his opening match.
A 4&3 defeat at the hands of Russel Henley in his second match would mean Perez needed to win his final match against Sungjae Im and hope Henley and Lieshman’s match finished in a tie.
The Frenchman played his part by defeating the South Korean golfer 2&1 and when the match in the group behind finished in a tie on the 18th green, Perez advanced to face another 2020 Ryder Cup hopeful in Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre.
A tough match for the Frenchman considering MacIntyre was coming off the back of topping a group that included the World Number One Dustin Johnson.
However, Perez would up his game again to see off the young Scot 5&4 and advance to the quarter-finals where Europe’s all-time leading points scorer Sergio Garcia – who made an ace earlier in the week to beat Lee Westwood in a play-off to win his group - awaited.
Once again, Perez wouldn’t faulter as he comfortably beat one of Europe’s finest match-players 4&3 to advance to the final four.
And when the other European’s in the quarter-finals, Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm, fell to defeat, Perez would be the last European standing.
However, the semi-finals would be as far as Perez would go in the tournament as he couldn’t get the better of Billy Horschel, who would go on to win the tournament, after his 3&2 victory over Perez.
Despite a 2&1 defeat against Matt Kuchar in the third/fourth place play-off, Perez recorded his best ever World Golf Championships finish.
Fleetwood also made a small move in the European Points List when after reaching the last 16, as he moved into the number one spot with 4,830.26 points.
Other notable jumps in the Points Race came from MacIntyre, who climbed to eighth on the European Points List and 12th on the World Points List, and Garcia who moved into the top ten on the World Points List.
Elsewhere, Graeme McDowell finished in a tie for fourth place at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on the PGA TOUR to climb two places and into 15th on the World Points List.
As it stands Fleetwood (4,830.26 points), Tyrrell Hatton (4,540.56 points) Rahm (4,243.10 points) and Rory McIlroy (3,885.19 points) fill the automatic qualification places on the European Points List.
Meanwhile, Westwood (218.35 points), Perez (187.37 points), Paul Casey (169.89 points), Viktor Hovland (164.46 points), and Fitzpatrick (161.83 points) currently occupy the World Points List spots.