Spieth grouped with former college rival at WGC Match Play

Tue Mar 22, 2016 12:34am EDT
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(Reuters) - Jordan Spieth will face a familiar foe at this week's WGC-Dell Match Play tournament after he was drawn in the same group as former college rival Justin Thomas on Monday.

The two played together as U.S. team mates at the 2007 Evian Junior Masters but went head to head in the 2012 NCAA Championship final, where Spieth got the better of Thomas to help his Texas Longorns beat Alabama to the title.

Spieth, who went on to become world number one and won two majors last year, plays Thomas on Friday and will also face Frenchman Victor Dubuisson and Jamie Donaldson of Wales.

The event at Austin Country Club in Texas features 16 four-player groups, with the winners advancing to knockout stages. The new match play format was adopted last year, with Rory Mcilroy taking the title.

World number three McIlroy, still looking for his first win of the season, has landed what seems an easier group with Kevin Na, Smylie Kaufman and Thorbjorn Olesen, but the Northern Irishman said he would not take anyone lightly.

“A big key to match play is you can’t underestimate anyone,” McIlroy told the Golf Channel. “You have to fully expect for them to play their best golf. You have to go out and make as many birdies as you can.”

World number two Jason Day, a winner at Bay Hill on Sunday, has been drawn in a tough group with Graeme McDowell, Paul Casey and Thongchai Jaidee.

Adam Scott, who has already won twice this year, is grouped with Bill Haas, Chris Wood and Thomas Pieters, while U.S. Ryder Cup duo Dustin Johnson and Jimmy Walker have been drawn together.

European Ryder Cup standouts Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood will fight to escape Group 13, while Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed are in Group 9 and long-hitters Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes doing battle in Group 4.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Mar 3, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Jordan Spieth follows his drive shot off the 11th tee during first round of the Cadillac Championship at TPC Blue Monster at Trump National Doral. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports