Rory McIlroy powers his way to another win in Match Play Rory

McIlroy had every reason to love the long ball Thursday. Taken to the 18th hole in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, McIlroy unleashed the shot of the tournament. He smashed a drive on the 375-yard closing hole so magnificently that it pitched on the green and rolled out to just inside 4 feet. That all but clinched his 2-up victory over Denny McCarthy as McIlroy led a parade of top seeds into the final round of group play at Austin Country Club. ”It was good,” McIlroy said with a smile, which was like saying Michelangelo did a good job on the Sistine Chapel. He capped a rally from 3 down through six holes. McIlroy didn’t take his first lead in the match until another power show — a big drive into the wind on the par-5 16th to set up a two-putt birdie from 18 feet. Defending champion Scottie Scheffler, who had to make a 12-footer on the last hole to win his first match, had seven birdies in a nine-hole stretch in the middle of his match against Alex Noren for a 5-and-4 victory. Patrick Cantlay (4), Max Homa (5) and Xander Schauffele (6) also won their matches as four of the top six seeds took a 2-0 record into Friday in a bid to win their group and advance to the knockout stage on the weekend.