AUSTIN: Second-ranked Spaniard Jon Rahm was eliminated after Friday’s group stage finales at the WGC Match Play Championship while defending champion Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy advanced. Rahm, a three-time PGA winner this year, lost to 2021 WGC Match Play champion Billy Horschel 5&4 at Austin Country Club in Texas, where 16 group winners, 12 of them Americans, advanced to knockout rounds. Rahm didn’t make a birdie and became the only top-six seed ousted in group play as Horschel never trailed in delivering the Spaniard’s second defeat. “To succeed on a hole-by-hole basis, on a swing-by-swing basis and just add those good swings up one after another, puts a lot of confidence in that tank that I’ve needed for a little bit of time now,” reigning Memorial champion Horschel said. Scheffler beat South Korean 17th seed Tom Kim 3&2 to win his group at a perfect 3-0. Reigning Masters champion Scheffler, who won the Players Championship earlier this month, booked a last-16 berth against US 43rd seed J.T. Poston. McIlroy, the 2015 Match Play winner, never trailed in beating US 20th seed Keegan Bradley 3&2 to reach the last 16. The four-time major winner from Northern Ireland won the fourth and fifth holes with birdies and the seventh on a Bradley bogey then played level from there to start 3-0. Next for McIlroy is Australian 46th seed Lucas Herbert, who never trailed in beating US 62nd seed Ben Griffin 3&1 to finish 3-0. Herbert sank a 20-foot eagle putt at the par-5 16th and a 17-foot birdie at the par-3 17th to advance. US 59th seed Matt Kuchar, the oldest entrant at 44, routed South Korea’s Kim Si-woo 7&6 to advance. The 2013 Match Play champion equaled the event record set by Tiger Woods with his 36th match win. Kuchar, into the round of 16 for a record ninth time, will next face Australian 32nd seed Jason Day, the 2014 and 2016 winner who beat US two-time major champion Collin Morikawa 4&3 to stay perfect. Kuchar was among four lowest group seeds to advance. US fourth seed Patrick Cantlay also made a 3-0 start, edging compatriot Brian Harman 2&1 to book a last-16 date with US 13th seed Sam Burns, who reached 3-0 by closing with back-to-back birdies to beat Irishman Seamus Power 2 up. Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, the 2021 Masters champion, forfeited his match against US fifth seed Max Homa with a stiff neck, advancing the unbeaten American into the last 16. Unbeaten US 61st seed J.J. Spaun birdied the last four holes to rally past Australian Min Woo Lee 2&1 and book a last-16 date with reigning Olympic champion Xander Schauffele, the US sixth seed who sank a 13-foot birdie putt at 18 to edge Tom Hoge 1 up and stay perfect. Kurt Kitayama, who won three weeks ago at Bay Hill, won a three-man playoff to reach a last-16 date with fellow American Andrew Putnam.