Burns withdraws from match play as groups prepare for Austin


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Sam Burns poses with the trophy after winning the Valspar Championship golf tournament Sunday, March 20, 2022 at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

PA

Sam Burns withdrew from Dell Match Play on Monday, a day after beating Davis Riley in the playoffs to become a back-to-back Valspar Championship winner.

Austin Country Club‘s 64-man field will be four players short of the top-12 in the world rankings. Cameron Smith (6) retired after winning the Players Championship, Hideki Matsuyama (12) is recovering from an upper back injury and Rory McIlroy (8) has previously said he plans to play Valero Texas Open as his last event before the Masters.

Burns moved up to 10th in the world with his victory in Florida. He was replaced on the field in Texas by Maverick McNealy. The field is determined by the world ranking of a week ago. Three players entered the top 64 in their performance last week – Shaun Norris and Dean Burmester in South Africa, Stewart Cink in Innisbrook – but are not eligible.

The 16 groups were finalized on Monday, with each group randomly filled with a player from the top 16 seeds, one from numbers 17-32, one from numbers 33-48 and one from numbers 49-64. The winner of each group after the round robin, we go to the knockout phase.

Jon Rahm is the No. 1 seed and will start Wednesday playing Sebastian Munoz, the second straight year they have faced each other on day one.

Bryson DeChambeau is playing for the first time since pulling out of the Saudi international with injuries.

This is the last week for players to earn a place in the Masters through the top 50 in the world rankings. Among those from Match Play who are on the bubble are Seamus Power (48), Cameron Tringale (51) and Alex Noren (56).

Billy Horschel is the defending champion after beating Scottie Scheffler last year. Horschel was the No. 32 seed last year. This time he is the 12th seed. Scheffler is the No. 5 seed and has three English Ryder Cup players in his squad – Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood and Ian Poulter.

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