Rory McIlroy, the No. 3-ranked player in the world, needed 20 holes to defeat Kevin Na on Friday at the WGC-Dell Match Play to advance to the round of 16 at Austin (Texas) Country Club.
McIlroy and Na each missed birdie putts to win the match on the 18th hole to send it sudden-death. McIlroy won on the second playoff hole after Na drove into a hazard.
"This is similar to what happened last year when I had to go to extra holes with Billy Horschel to get into the weekend," said McIlroy. "It's just nice to be through. I feel like my game's gotten a little bit better as the days went on, and I know I'll have to play very well again tomorrow to try and beat Zach [Johnson]."
Jason Day, on the other hand, only needed six holes to secure his entrance into the round of 16. His playing partner, Paul Casey, withdrew because of a stomach illness. Day finished group play undefeated.
Jordan Spieth, playing his good friend Justin Thomas, won his match, 3 and 2, to advance to the weekend, finishing group play 3-0.
Patrick Reed, who never trailed once in group play, beat Phil Mickelson, 5 and 4, to advance to the round of 16.
Rickie Fowler, meanwhile, halved his match with Byeong-Hun An, to finish group play at 0-1-2 and did not advance to weekend play.
The matchups for the knockout rounds on Saturday : Bill Haas vs. Chris Kirk, Rory McIlroy vs. Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar vs. Brooks Koepka, Jason Day vs. Brandt Snedeker, Byeong-Hun An vs. Rafa Cabrera Bello, Patton Kizzire vs. Ryan Moore, Dustin Johnson vs. Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth vs. Louis Oosthuizen.