Tommy Fleetwood sets up Bryson DeChambeau showdown at WGC Dell Match Play

The Englishman takes on golf’s biggest hitter on day three and knows victory will secure top spot in the group and a place in the last 16

Tommy Fleetwood's 10-foot putt to secure a halve against Si Woo Kim on Wednesday could prove to be a sliding doors moment.

Losing the first match in the group stage of the WGC Dell Match Play isn't fatal like it used to be. But it puts a player heavily on the back foot and already hoping that results go his way elsewhere.

Thanks to his birdie-3 at the 18th hole against Kim, Fleetwood left Austin Country Club on day one with his hopes still strong.

And thanks to a convincing 4&3 win over Frenchman Antoine Rozner on Thursday, the Englishman is suddenly in control of Group 5.

A win in his next match and he's through to the last 16 as group winner. A halve will even be enough if Kim beats Rozner in the other game.

But the man standing in Fleetwood's way on Friday just happens to be US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, the monster-hitting American buoyed by a 2&1 over Kim to keep his own qualification ambitions alive.

The two haven't met in this tournament before but they do have some match play history. That came during Europe's 2018 Ryder Cup triumph at Le Golf National when Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari took on DeChambeau and Tiger Woods in Saturday's foursomes.

If Fleetwood wants an extra dose of inspiration, he may choose to check that duel out on YouTube.

By that stage of the Ryder Cup in France, Molinari and Fleetwood had established themselves as one of the tournament's great double acts. And 'Moliwood' took it to new levels in that match as they thrashed DeChambeau and Woods 5&4 to help Europe into a 10-6 lead.

Much has changed since of course but Rozner took down DeChambeau on day one and Fleetwood must fancy himself to do the same.

If successful, a pot of gold awaits on the weekend. Not only in monetary terms but a victory would be Fleetwood's first on the PGA TOUR. And wouldn't that be nice with The Masters just two weeks away.

Fleetwood is 28/1 with Paddy Power to win the WGC Dell Match Play.

Here's what Fleetwood had to say after beating Rozner on day two.

On his performance against Rozner

"Just really happy. I think I played really, really well, really, really solid. Just managed to stay up in the whole match, obviously out there my putting didn't feel the greatest, so I kind of just had to knuckle down and feel like if I could just use my ball striking to my advantage, then that would make the difference today. And you have days like that, I guess. So a little bit of practice on that this afternoon. But overall I think just the way I played in the wind felt like I hit just so much solid golf shots, felt really in control and like, yeah, obviously the result is the only thing that matters, but I think my game is very pleasing."

On course and weather conditions compared to day one

"Opposite wind, and then started firming out a little bit, but yeah, just holes played so different. Like yesterday was -- well 15, the final hole, or 14 and 15, they played opposite. Yesterday I hit driver and a pitch on 15 and driver, 6-iron to 14 and today it was the opposite, drive, pitch, drive, 6-iron to the other one. It's good, that's good though, just changes things up a bit and makes you think and makes you play. So there's a few tough holes out there and I feel like I handled them really well and just managed to control the match."

After being asked if he'd played DeChambeau in match play before

"I played him, we played him at the Ryder Cup but it was doubles. And that's the only time. So exciting, yeah, looking forward to it."

On whether it's exciting to play the new, beefed-up DeChambeau

"Yeah, well, of course it is. I mean for me it's another day where I have to go out and control my own game and see what we can do. Bryson's been smashing it literally and figuratively, he's been doing great and clearly great for the game and it will just be nice to go toe-to-toe with him and see what we can do. I think getting to the two matches down, one more in this group stage and fate is still in your own hands in a way, I think that's a nice position to be in. So a lot to play for tomorrow."

On whether he'll have a different mentality knowing he controls his own fate

"Well, I think that you still, there's 18 holes of golf, be ready to go until the end, be ready for any scenario, any situation, and play golf, that's all can you do, really just keep hitting shots, keep hitting putts. I know it's so cliche, but that literally is all you can do and take it from there. So like I say, it's a nice situation to be in, feel like if I do things similar to today I'll be happy and then see what the result brings."

On whether he'd like to see more match play events on the schedule

"I don't know, I don't know whether there's a need to change anything. I think it's good to watch, for sure. I don't know, try it out and see if people think it's great to watch when it's a few more or not. It is, yeah, the thing about match play is like it kind of should be less exhausting in a way because you can make a 10 and it only counts as one hole. But at the same time your final shot on every hole kind of feels very decisive and how that hole plays out and what difference that makes. So I think, yeah, it's kind of tiring, when you think it might be a little bit easier on your mentality because you got a little bit more leeway. But yeah, I hope I'm really tired at the end of the week and I've gone all the way."

READ MORE: A round-up of the best quotes from day one of the WGC Dell Match Play

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