AUSTIN, Texas — Justin Thomas won two matches Saturday to reach the semifinals of the Dell Technologies Match Play.

One more victory, and he gets to No. 1 in the world.

Thomas made quick work of Si Woo Kim in the morning, then trailed for the first time all week against Kyle Stanley – just not for long. Thomas won three straight holes to start the back nine, made a 6-foot par putt to stay in control and closed out Stanley, 2-and-1.

Dustin Johnson didn’t win a match this week and will not get any world ranking points. That means Thomas only has to make it to the championship match Sunday to become the seventh American to reach No. 1.

In his way is Bubba Watson, who is back to playing like a two-time Masters champion.

“It will and would be a great accomplishment,” Thomas said. “But I’m just worried about trying to beat Bubba Watson tomorrow.”


Watson made all the key putts in a battle of Georgia southpaws when he beat Brian Harman in the morning, and then he turned a tight match into a runaway against Kiradech Aphibarnrat by winning five of six holes on the back nine for a 5-and-3 victory.

That put Watson, who won last month at Riviera, in the semifinals for the first time since his Match Play debut in 2011.

Alex Noren extended his run at Austin Country Club by winning for the ninth time in his last 10 matches. His only loss was to Johnson a year ago in the quarterfinals, and he needed only 31 holes to beat Patrick Reed and Cameron Smith.

Noren and Thomas are the only semifinalists who have not lost this week.

Kevin Kisner reached the semifinals with a big putt and a big blowout. He made a birdie on the 18th hole to beat Matt Kuchar, then equaled the shortest match of the week with an 8-and-6 victory over Ian Poulter, who was disappointed for more than just losing.

Poulter was told after he beat Louis Oosthuizen in the morning that reaching the quarterfinals was enough for him to be in the top 50 at the end of the week, which would get him into the Masters. Moments later, he received a text that he needed to win his match against Kisner.


Brice Garnett bogeyed three of the final six holes in the wind and rain to settle for a 3-under 69 and a two-stroke lead in the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in the Dominican Republic.

Corey Conners was second at 14 under after a 67, and Tyler McCumber also shot a 67 to get to 12 under.

LPGA: Cristie Kerr blew a five-stroke lead in the Kia Classic to set up a final-round showdown in Carlsbad, California.

A day after shooting an 8-under 64 to open the big lead, Kerr had a 75 to drop a stroke behind Lizette Salas, Eun-Hee Ji and In-Kyung Kim. Kerr was tied with Caroline Hedwall, Wei-Ling Hsu and Cindy LaCrosse, and four players were another shot back.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Steve Stricker moved into position for his second straight victory, shooting a 3-under 69 in gusting wind to take a one-stroke lead in the Rapiscan Systems Classic in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Stricker had a 7-under 137 total. First-round leader Joe Durant followed his opening 66 with a 72 to drop into a tie for second with Jeff Sluman (67). Stephen Ames (68) and Billy Andrade (70) were 5 under.

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