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BlogLook ahead to weekend, Match play

WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship

April 29th – May 3rd, 2015

TPC Harding Park

San Francisco, Ca.

Par: 71 / Yardage:7,115

Purse: $9.25 million

with $1,570,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Jason Day

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

Looking to Saturday morning matches:

I would have to say that the new format turned one of the best things this year.  It was great having 32 matches a day and all 64 players in the mix for three days.  On the surface it feels great and you would think that the weekend is going to be loaded with marquee, top of the rankings players.  Here is a shock for many, of the top-16 players in the world, only five moved on.  Of those only two top-ten players, Rory McIlroy and Jim Furyk are playing on the weekend while # 12 J.B. Holmes, #13 Rickie Fowler and #16 Hideki Matsuyama made it to the weekend.

On the other end of the spectrum, on the bottom 16 of the rankings four of them are in the finals, #60 John Senden, #56 March Leishman, #54 Tommy Fleetwood and #50 Gary Woodland.  So in fact the poison of match play is there with lot’s of marquee players leaving, it just went down a little better than the previous 16 times they have played this championship.

In looking at the brackets for the rest of the play, most of the marquee names are in the top while on the bottom you have the chance of having a longshot getting to the finals.  The good news, looks like we will have a great weekend of matches making this one of the most enjoyable events of the year

So here is a look at the round of 16 matches, and they are sorted by time with the first one’s off on the top of the list, going down.

9:50am –  Gary Woodland vs Marc Leishman
Gary Woodland is proving the point that I brought up in my preview, that long hitters have a big advantage this week along with the flat greens.  Woodland beat Jimmy Walker in 19 holes, then beat Ian Poulter 3 & 2, then Webb Simpson 1 up and we have to say that he will be a force to reckon with.  Marc Leishman had an easier route, with the exception of having to play Justin Rose.  The good thing, he played Rose first and there had to be some let-down from Rose winning just two days previously in New Orleans.  Leishman birdied his first hole against Rose and never looked back winning 3 & 2.  In his next match against Ryan Palmer he got off to another early lead and won easily 4 & 3.  Leishman had a tougher time against Anirban Lahiri, he was down early but fought back squaring the match on the third hole and with a birdie at five, led and never looked back.  Lahiri squared the match twice on the back nine but Leishman did the job of keeping Lahiri at bay.  Leishman has been under a lot of strain with the health of his wife, who almost lost year life three weeks ago.  She is better and it looks like Leishman is playing differently.
Who will win?  Still think that Leishman has a different attitude in life after almost losing his wife, but have to say that Woodland will out power him and win.  The winner of this match will face the winner of the next match.
10:02am –  John Senden vs Hunter Mahan
This could be a great match, Senden has been playing well beating Henrik Stenson, Bill Haas and then Brendon Todd.  Mahan has played incredible, in 41 holes he is ten under par making 13 birdies and just three birdies.  Even more incredible, in his 41 holes he has only lost two holes against his three opponents.  Sorry John but you are looking at a runaway train in Mahan.
Who will win?  Sorry but for those that have to play Mahan, he will be very hard to beat.  We know his match play record, he is now 16 – 6 in this event and will be playing on the weekend for the three time in the last four years.
10:14am – Branden Grace vs Tommy Fleetwood
This is the one match that nobody will care about, expect for the families of Grace and Fleetwood.  For both Grace and Fleetwood they are the poster children of what the new format is about.  First for Grace, he lost his first match 2 down to Zach Johnson, but then went on to beat Jason Day and then Charley Hoffman.  This set up a three man playoff and Grace won with a birdie on the third extra hole beating Johnson and Hoffman. As for Fleetwood, he lost his first match to Sergio Garcia but then beat Jamie Donaldson in 21 holes and then went extra holes against Bernd Wiesberger on the 19th hole.  Because he beat Donaldson, Fleetwood gets the nod for his Saturday morning match.
Who will win?  Have to say that Grace is a much better player and should have the edge.  Doesn’t mean that Fleetwood will play bad, gosh he has had three really tough matches and was able to survive.  Sorry but I think that ends on Saturday morning as Grace moves on.
10:26am – Danny Willett vs Lee Westwood
Willett took care of business beating Ryan Moore 3 & 2, then Patrick Reed 2 & 1 and then Andy Sullivan 1 up for his berth.  He plays Lee Westwood, who beat Matt Every 1 up, then Matt Every 1 up and then Jordan Spieth 2 up.  The match was all square after 11 holes, both made pars at 12, 13 and 14 and then both birdied 15.  But Westwood turned on the afterburners with birdies at 17 and 18 to beat the hottest player in golf.  Westwood was five under on his last 14 holes and looks to be going into the weekend with some momentum.
Who will win?  Sorry Lee, I think that you will have a Jordan Spieth hangover and will get trounced by Willett who is playing well.  Willett will play Branden Grace with Willett winning that.
10:38am –  Jim Furyk against J.B. Holmes
Have to give Furyk some credit for hanging in with his Friday match with Martin Kaymer.  Both shot 66 and Furyk was 2 up going into 17.  But Kaymer made birdies at 17 and 18 to send it into overtime, both birdied the 19th hole but Furyk won with a birdie on the 20th hole.  He is a big mystery, you never know when he will win or when he will fold.  This is the 15th time he has played in this event and only the second time he has made it to the weekend.  He got to the quarterfinals last year before losing 1 down to Rickie Fowler.  As for Holmes, he lost his first round match to Marc Warren and then beat Russell Henley and Brooks Koepka.
Who will win?  Tough one to call, on paper Furyk should win but Holmes will have a 30 yard advantage off the tee.  Just think this will grow old for Furyk always hitting first and having to hit three to four clubs more than Holmes.  With the greens being flat, I see Holmes going on and beating him.
10:50am –  Rickie Fowler vs Louis Oosthuizen
Just like he did last year, Fowler took care of business the first two days beating Harris English 1 up, Shane Lowry 1 up and then crushing Graeme McDowell 5 & 4.  Fowler lost last year in the semi-finals to winner Jason Day so for the second year in a row makes it to the weekend.  As for Oosthuizen he beat three great players, first Miguel Angel Jimenez 5 & 4, then Keegan Bradley 2 up and then Bubba Watson with a birdie on the 19th hole.
Who will win?  This is a coin toss, both are good at match play and know how to win.  I just see Fowler being to hard for Oosthuizen who has had some injury problems in the past and could find all this playing too much for him.  See Fowler having a very easy time, then also beating J.B. Holmes in the afternoon.
11:02am –  Paul Casey vs Charl Schwartzel
Casey is really, really tough in match play.  He took care of business beating Chris Kirk in 22 holes, then Adam Scott 1 up followed by beating Francesco Molinari 1 up.  As for Schwartzel, he two took care of business beating Victor Dubuisson 5 & 4, then Dustin Johnson in 20 holes and again winning a 20 hole match with Matt Jones.
Who will win?  Be a very good match that will go the distance, Casey will win but it will be a tough deal.  This will set up another tough match for him against Rory McIlroy, I see Rory getting the best of Casey.
11:14am –  Rory McIlory vs Hideki Matsuyama
This is the feature group and the first time the #1 player has made it to the weekend since Tiger Woods did it in 2008 when he went on to win.  McIlroy won handily on Wednesday beating Jason Dufner 5 & 4, but then scraped by Brandt Snedeker 2 up and had to go 20 holes before beating Billy Horschel in a playoff.  As for Matsuyama, he best Alexander Levy 5 & 4, Joost Luiten 2 up and Kevin Na 5 & 4.
Who will win?  The odds are way in McIlroy’s favor, but this will be a really close match.  The one thing that McIlroy will control is the power game, he has a big advantage over Matsuyama and with that I give Rory the nod in this match and his next with Paul Casey.

**NOTE**

We will do write-up tomorrow night on who should win.

One thing to look for is our new GOLFstats IQ.  For those that play in fantasy golf it’s a perfect way to help you pick those players in Draft Kings and Victiv games.  You can customize the list of those in the tournaments, to look back a couple or many years of tournament stats and you can go back a couple or ten weeks prior to the tournament.  On top of that, all the stats are fully sortable to help you pick your six players, we even give you their value for the week to help you chose.

That’s GOLFstats IQ, give it a try and tell us what you think of it

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Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship

Player Zurich Classic Volvo China RBC Heritage Shenzhen International Masters Shell Houston Valero Texas Trophee Hassan Arnold Palmer Tshwane Open Valspar WGC Cadillac Puerto Rico
Hideki Matsuyama
(172.83 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 5
(140)
DNP DNP DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP DNP T23
(13.5)
DNP
Louis Oosthuizen
(167 pts)
DNP DNP T7
(55)
DNP T19
(62)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T9
(30)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
6
(30)
DNP
Paul Casey
(149.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T6
(120)
9
(30)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T38
(6)
DNP
Jim Furyk
(134.33 pts)
DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T40
(3.33)
T12
(19)
DNP
J.B. Holmes
(111.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
Win
(88)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP 2
(50)
DNP
Hunter Mahan
(106.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T9
(90)
T25
(16.67)
DNP DNP T57
(0)
DNP DNP 65
(0)
DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(102 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP 3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP DNP DNP T71
(0)
DNP
Rickie Fowler
(99 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(76)
71
(0)
DNP DNP T29
(14)
DNP DNP T12
(19)
DNP
Danny Willett
(50.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T38
(24)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T29
(14)
DNP DNP T12
(19)
DNP
Branden Grace
(48.33 pts)
DNP DNP T7
(55)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP T62
(0)
DNP DNP 54
(0)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship

Player Zurich Classic Volvo China RBC Heritage Shenzhen International Masters Shell Houston Valero Texas Trophee Hassan Arnold Palmer Tshwane Open Valspar WGC Cadillac Puerto Rico
John Senden
(6.83 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(24)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T31
(9.5)
DNP
Marc Leishman
(12 pts)
T28
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Gary Woodland
(25.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T23
(13.5)
DNP
Lee Westwood
(31.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T46
(8)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(11)
T12
(19)
DNP
Charl Schwartzel
(32.33 pts)
DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP T38
(24)
T42
(5.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T44
(3)
DNP
Branden Grace
(48.33 pts)
DNP DNP T7
(55)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP T62
(0)
DNP DNP 54
(0)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who to watch for at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship

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