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BlogWho will win at Dove Mountain on Sunday?

WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship

February 19 – 23, 2014

The Golf Club at Dove Mountain

Marana, Ariz.

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,791

Purse: $9 million

with $1.5 Million to the winner

Defending Champion:
Matt Kuchar

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

Let’s pick the winners in Sunday’s matches:

The Accenture Match Play came within a stone throw of having a really great Sunday.  Victor Dubuisson put a kink in it when he beat Graeme McDowell 1 up.  I had a funny feeling when McDowell won the second and third holes that there could be some trouble for him.  You see McDowell led after a total of three holes in his first three matches, of course when it matter the most the last hole.  So when McDowell took an early lead you had to wonder.  McDowell playing against Dubuisson lost the lead when the Frenchman birdied the 4th and 7th holes.  That was the last time McDowell would lead as the match went back and forth with Dubuisson taking the lead for the last time when McDowell bogeyed the 16th hole.  Graeme had one final shot at 18 with a 15 footer for birdie but it wasn’t to be.

So Dubuisson will face Ernie Els who frankly was the most unlikely of the semi-finalist.  On Saturday Els faced Jordan Spieth who was 13 under in his first three rounds (Oosthuizen was the best at 14 under).  For Els, he was 7 over (six over in his 1st round match with Stephen Gallacher and 2nd round match with Justin Rose) so it didn’t look good for him against Spieth, who played his first three rounds 20 shots better.  On top of that in Spieth’s first 49 holes he only trailed in five of those holes.  So when both players made par on the first hole, things went downhill for Spieth who was even with Els on just two holes as Ernie dominated the match, winning 4 & 2.  So Els moves on to the semifinals for the second time in 14 career starts; he lost in the semifinals to Pierre Fulke in 2001 and finished fourth after losing the Consolation Match to Toru Taniguchi.

Over on the other side of the bracket, Jason Day caught a bit of a break as Louis Oosthuizen, who has had back problems over the last year suffered from a sore back throughout his round.  Oosthuizen conceded the first hole to Day after a drive3 into a cactus plant but rebounded with birdies at 2 and 3 to lead by a hole.  That would be the last time he led, he bogeyed the 4th hole and by the 11th hole Day built up a three hole lead.  Day has been a birdie machine in his four rounds, he made seven birdies over the first two matches, then added another 11 birdies in round three and the quarterfinals.

Day has played 74 holes, the most of anyone in the semi’s.  This will be Day’s second consecutive appearance in the semi-finals; last year, he lost in the semi-finals to eventual champion Matt Kuchar and went on to win the Consolation Match against Ian Poulter to finish third, his best of 10 World Golf Championships starts. Day joins Geoff Ogilvy as the only Australians to make it to the semifinals more than once (Ogilvy won 2009; finished second in 2007; won in 2006).

Day is 25 years old and will face another 25 years old Rickie Fowler.  They will be the second oldest pair in the semi’s, in 2003 27 year old Tiger Woods faced 22 year old Adam Scott.

In Fowler’s match against Jim Furyk it looked like he was going to make mince-meat out of Furyk with birdies at 1, 2 and 4 to lead 3 up.  But as quick as Fowler ran up a lead, Furyk chipped away at it when Fowler bogeyed 6 and Furyk birdied 7.  Fowler got the 3 up lead back with birdies at 9 and 11 but Furyk looked like he was going to win when he reeled off four straight birdies between holes 13 and 16 to lead one up.  Again like he did in the Ryder Cup at Medinah, Furyk proved that he just can’t close the deal as he missed the 17th green with his approach and failed to get up-and-down for par. Furyk missed the green again on 18 and failed to get up and down, handing Fowler a 1-up win.

I just have a funny feeling that we may never see Furyk again in this format, his Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup days are over and I can’t see him playing well enough to maintain his top-64 world rankings.  So I finally got it right on the Furyk, Fowler match picking the right winner.

For the day I picked three of the four matches, still can’t believe that McDowell was going to lose.

So on Sunday we have a lot to look forward to, first we have nobody in the semi’s in his 30s.  At 23 Dubuisson will be the third youngest player to make it into the semi’s behind Adam Scott, who was 22 in 2003 and Rory McIlroy, who was 22 in 2012.  With Fowler and Day being 25 and Els being 44 we have a big difference from the youngest to the oldest.

So on Sunday morning Day and Fowler will go off first and the winner will face whoever is the victor in the Dubuisson/Els match.

 

Which 2 players left in the field are playing the best:

Player Northern Trust AT&T Pebble Joburg Open Phoenix Open Dubai Desert Farmers Insurance Qatar Masters Humana Challenge Abu Dhabi Sony Open Volvo Champions Hyundai T of C
Victor Dubuisson
(70.33 pts)
T40
(10)
T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP
Jason Day
(66.67 pts)
DNP T64
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Of the 4 players left on Sunday, these two are playing the worst:

Player Northern Trust AT&T Pebble Joburg Open Phoenix Open Dubai Desert Farmers Insurance Qatar Masters Humana Challenge Abu Dhabi Sony Open Volvo Champions Hyundai T of C
Rickie Fowler
(-12 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T33
(11.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Ernie Els
(17 pts)
T35
(15)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

A look at Sunday’s semi’s, who will win?

Semi-final match #1 – Tee Times – All Times Local

Time  Match

7:05 AM    61  (#56) Rickie Fowler (Hogan bracket) vs (#11) Jason Day (Jones bracket)

This is the future of golf, a couple of 25 year olds that could rule the world of golf in a few years.  On paper this match favors Day because Fowler has not been playing well, but as we have said with him working with Butch Harmon I can see him pull off the upset.  But he needs to play well to beat Day who has steadily gotten better in each match, against Oosthuizen he only trailed on one hole and on Friday never trailed. In those two matches he only lost eight holes out of the 34 played.  So the favorite is Day and I can’t see him losing this one at all.

My pick – Day

Semi-final match #2 – Tee Times – All Times Local

Time  Match

7:20 AM    62   (#34) Ernie Els (Player bracket) vs (#30) Victor Dubuisson (Snead bracket)

When you talk about match play, this is a great example of you don’t have to play well to win.  Ernie Els would of missed the cut if this was a regular tour event but he has a chance to win the championship.  When he tees it up against Victor Dubuisson he will know that he is playing like Houdini, able to get out of any mess he gets into.  Els is doing it with some great clutch putting, normally a spotty putter he is making everything this week.  As for Dubuisson, he has shown some real spunk to be here but I have to think that the clock may strike midnight about 7:30 Sunday morning.  I just don’t think he has the experience, especially in match play.  This is his first match play tournament since his amateur days so the question will be if he can handle all of this.  One thing that is interesting, in looking at his play on the European Tour he has played well in tournaments that he went into the final round in contention.  He may only have one win at last year’s Turkish Airlines Open but he has been close a bunch of times.  Still as I have pointed out, Els has that great record in winning the European Match Play Championship seven times and I think he has two more wins left in him

My pick – Els

 

So who will play in the finals and who will win?

I  see Day playing Els in the finals, again my mind says Day but my heart says that Els finally wins this championship.

Hope you have enjoyed this series and we will be back next Saturday for a look at who will win the Honda Classic.

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