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Hideki Matsuyama withdraws, allowing Max Homa to advance to Round of 16

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AUSTIN, Texas – Hideki Matsuyama withdrew from the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play prior to the start of his third-round match with a neck injury and conceded his match to Max Homa, who became the first player to advance to the knockout rounds.

Matsuyama defeated Kevin Kisner on Day 1, 1 up, and lost his second-round bout to Justin Suh, 3 and 1. He needed to beat Homa on Friday to force a playoff to advance.

“I experienced some stiffness in my neck this morning while warming up on the range, preventing me from making a full swing. As a precautionary measure, I decided to concede my match to Max and rest before moving on to the Valero Texas Open next week,” Matsuyama said in a statement.

Homa also responded on Twitter: “Just another bogey-free day,” he joked before adding, “This isn’t the way I wanted to make it through. I hope Hideki feels better soon. Golf is better when he’s playing well.”

Matches and scoring from the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship

The Japanese star’s withdrawal also impacted Suh’s Sweet 16 chances. Suh needed Matsuyama to defeat Homa and he needed to beat Kisner, who is 0-2-0 in the group, to have any chance of advancing to the weekend.

Matsuyama began the WGC-Match Play with momentum following his fifth-place showing at The Players Championship which was his best finish this season.

Will Zalatoris also withdrew prior to his third-round match against Ryan Fox due to an illness. Zalatoris was 0-2-0 through two rounds. Fox moved to 2-1-0 and will wait to see if it's enough to get into a playoff with Andrew Putnam and Harris English.