Thomas (3-0), ranked No. 2 in the world, can become No. 1 by winning the tourney.
On the Challenge Tour, five-time European Tour victor Michael Hoey is six shots off the pace at halfway in the Barclays Kenya Open at Muthaiga Country Club in Nairobi.
"I got off to a good start, really got it going", Watson said.
"His bad holes I didn't mess up and I made a few birdies to throw in there", Kisner said.
Second seed Thomas, who won his first major title at last August's PGA Championship, routed South Korean Kim Si-woo 6 & 5 in the round of 16 and saw off fellow American Kyle Stanley 2 & 1 in the quarter-finals at Austin Country Club. It's the second consecutive year in which Watson has won his group.
"I knew Louis wasn't going to back off, that's why he's got a green jacket in his closet". I couldn't stop thinking about it, to be honest.
But he was three down after six holes to compatriot Watson and lost 3&2.
Watson has played the 18th hole just one time this week, a halve with Julian Suri that allowed him to avoid a playoff to advance. "So focused on committing to the shots, there was about four or five shots throughout the week where I wasn't committed, where I kind of blanked out, and so, that's pretty good over a 100-and-something holes, however many holes we played".
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"I don't care when it happens", Thomas said about going to No. 1.
No. 35 Bubba Watson def.
Poulter said the misinformation didn't cause him three-putt twice from long range or hit into the hazard on the par-3 fourth as the match quickly got away from him.
Mar 24, 2018; Austin, TX, USA; Bubba Watson of the United States tees off on number 8 playing against Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand during the fifth round of the WGC - Dell Technologies Match Play golf tournament at Austin Country Club.
Howell had a 1-up lead, but with birdie putts of 8 feet on the last two holes, it was the Thai who secured a quarterfinal berth.
The undefeated Noren made the last four after two more convincing wins, beating Patrick Reed 5 & 3 in the morning and then defeating Australia's Cameron Smith 4 & 2 in his afternoon match. Noren pulled ahead, only for Kisner to make a 50-foot eagle putt on No. 12 to square the match. But then Wiesberger holed a 20-foot putt for birdie, Hadwin missed his par putt from 12 feet and Kisner won the group.
Watson, the 2012 and 2014 Masters victor, seeks his 11th US PGA crown just five weeks after a victory at Riviera and with this year's Masters set to open April 5 at Augusta National.
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