DELL MATCH: JOHN­SON LIV­ING UP TO NO. 1 RANK­ING

Dustin John­son con­tin­ues to cruise through weather and op­po­nents to reach the Match Play round of 16.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Suzanne Hal­libur­ton shal­libur­ton@states­man.com

Dustin John­son has per­formed up to the ex­pec­ta­tions that come with be­ing

the top-ranked golfer in the world. On Fri­day, he ef­fec­tively dealt with rain and thick hu­mid­ity and eas­ily earned a spot in Satur­day’s round of 16 at the WGC-Dell Tech­nolo­gies Match Play at Austin Coun­try Club. The day be­fore, he con­quered gale-force winds. And he opened play Wed­nes­day with a re­lax­ing, five-hole-ad­van- tage blowout.

“No mat­ter what rank­ing I am, I feel like I should win,” said John­son, who beat Jimmy Walker 5 and 3 Fri­day, “but I’m play­ing well.

“But any­thing can hap­pen in match play.”

Yes, zany things can hap­pen in match play. It’s why most of the tour­na­ment’s other top seeds, in­clud­ing for­mer Texas Longhorns star Jor­dan Spi­eth, didn’t make it to the week­end rounds.

Af­ter ty­ing Ryan Moore on Fri­day af­ter­noon, Spi­eth will scale back his week­end plans. He said he’ll cel­e­brate his sis­ter’s 16th birth­day, prac­tice a bit, re­lax, then head to Hous­ton for next week’s Shell Open. From

there, it’s on to the Masters, which will start April 6. Spi­eth couldn’t over­come hisopen­ing loss to Ja­pan’s Hideto Tani­hara, who earned the group’s spot in the round of 16.

Spi­eth, the fifth seed, fin­ished his

JAY JAN­NER / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

World No. 1 Dustin John­son fist-bumps a fan as he walks on the 10th hole Fri­day at the WGC-Dell Tech­nolo­gies Match Play. John­son de­feated Jimmy Walker 5 and 3 to re­main un­beaten dur­ing the event.

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