Spieth out, new No.1 Day to meet McIlroy in Match Play semis

Sat Mar 26, 2016 10:47pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Australian Jason Day will replace Jordan Spieth as world number one on Sunday after advancing to a mouth-watering WGC-Dell Match Play semi-final against Rory McIlroy, while the Texan was beaten in the last 16 by Louis Oosthuizen.

Day, who has been bothered by a back problem, beat Brandt Snedeker 3&2 in the last 16 and then Brooks Koepka in the quarter-final by the same score on Saturday at Austin Country Club.

Northern Irishman McIlroy, the defending champion, followed a one-up win over British Open winner Zach Johnson by defeating Chris Kirk 4&3 to set up the first ever match play encounter between the pair.

South African Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open winner, will face Spain's Rafa Cabrera-Bello in the other semi-final.

Day said his return to world number one -- he occupied top spot for four weeks late last year -- was reward for all the hard work he has been putting in.

"It's not so much the number one ranking that gets me excited, it's more the journey and the process," he said.

"It's that delayed gratification I'm really thankful for because I have been busting my butt.

"Tomorrow I know I've got a really tough one. My back is a little shot right now."

Four-times major winner McIlroy is bidding to become the second player to retain the Match Play title after Tiger Woods won it in 2003 and 2004.   Continued...

Mar 26, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off against Chris Kirk of the United States in round five of the World Golf Championship-Dell Match Play at the Austin Country Club. McIlroy defeated Kirk. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports