Welcome to GOLFstats.com! You are currently viewing one of our Preview and Picks post that we publish each week. We also publish special Performance Charts for the tournaments, analyzing results over the past 8 years, a special DraftKings Picks Post, analyzing what picks are the best this week for the DraftKings games, and we do a weekly Key Fantasy Stats Post detailing what stats are most important for this weeks tournament and course, and which players excel in those stats. Very useful!
Our data is updated daily. To access all this info, and so much more, just CLICK HERE to SIGN UP for GOLFstats!

BlogPreliminary Match Play Preview and Picks

WGC-Dell Match Play Championship

March 24th – 25th, 2018

Austin Country Club

Austin, TX

Par: 71 / Yardage:

Purse: $10 million

with $1,700,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Dustin Johnson

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field is down to 16 players, here are their ranking in the latest Official World Rankings:  #2 Justin Thomas, #10 Sergio Garcia, #32 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, #16 Tyrrell Hatton, #17 Alex Noren, #20 Matt Kuchar, #22 Brian Harman, #23 Patrick Reed, #29 Louis Oosthuizen,#36 Kevin Kisner, #39 Bubba Watson, #49 Kyle Stanley, #50 Cameron Smith, #54 Si Woo Kim,  #64 Ian Poulter & #65 Charles Howell III

Of the 16 players that made it to the week, there are just 3 of them in the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2018.  Those players left are: #1 Justin Thomas, #18 Alex Noren and #21 Bubba Watson.

Of those 16 that that is left in the field includes 2 past champions: Matt Kuchar (2013) and Ian Poulter (2010).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship field is our performance chart listed by the average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a unique formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

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

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

Player Arnold Palmer Valspar Indian Open WGC Mexico Honda Classic Qatar Masters Genesis Open AT&T Pebble Super 6 Perth Phoenix Open Farmers Insurance Dubai Desert CareerBuilder Challenge
Justin Thomas
(279 pts)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
2
(150)
Win
(88)
DNP
 
T9
(30)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T17
(11)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Alex Noren
(193.67 pts)
T36
(14)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T14
(54)
3
(60)
DNP
 
T16
(22.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T21
(9.67)
T2
(33.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
(183 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T5
(105)
T68
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Win
(88)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T51
(0)
DNP
 
Sergio Garcia
(179.83 pts)
DNP
 
4
(80)
DNP
 
T7
(82.5)
T33
(11.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T32
(6)
DNP
 
Patrick Reed
(177.83 pts)
T7
(55)
T2
(100)
DNP
 
T37
(19.5)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
T17
(11)
T23
(9)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
Bubba Watson
(165.5 pts)
T66
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T9
(67.5)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Win
(88)
T35
(10)
DNP
 
T40
(3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
Tyrrell Hatton
(158.33 pts)
T69
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T3
(135)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T3
(30)
DNP
 
Brian Harman
(123 pts)
T54
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T5
(105)
T33
(11.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
T20
(10)
Charles Howell III
(78 pts)
T14
(36)
T40
(10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
T37
(8.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T6
(20)
DNP
 
T20
(10)
Louis Oosthuizen
(68 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T16
(34)
DNP
 
T30
(30)
T24
(17.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
Kyle Stanley
(63.5 pts)
T14
(36)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T25
(37.5)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
T51
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Matt Kuchar
(49.33 pts)
DNP
 
T40
(10)
DNP
 
T58
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T26
(16)
T62
(0)
DNP
 
T5
(23.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Arnold Palmer Valspar Indian Open WGC Mexico Honda Classic Qatar Masters Genesis Open AT&T Pebble Super 6 Perth Phoenix Open Farmers Insurance Dubai Desert CareerBuilder Challenge
Si Woo Kim
(-11.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T59
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T62
(0)
T35
(5)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Kevin Kisner
(8.5 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
29
(31.5)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T50
(0.33)
Ian Poulter
(12.33 pts)
T41
(9)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T52
(0)
DNP
 
T6
(20)
DNP
 
Cameron Smith
(44.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T46
(4)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T6
(40)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T48
(0.67)
T20
(10)
DNP
 
DNP
 

How Player Rankings are Computed

So what is left:

Have to say that this year the toll is very high for those marquee players that were ordering up their Jets from NetJets.  The carnage was pretty high including the #1 player in the world and defending champion Dustin Johnson. Who lost all three of his matches.  Sorry but I don’t think we could find a single person that could have predicted that.  How about Rory McIlroy losing two of his three matches and Jon Rahm losing two and getting a halve on one.

That is always the problem with this event, lots and lots of carnage.  At the end of the day, there are more players ranked 60 (3, #63 Peter Uihlein, #64 Ian Poulter and #65 Charles Howell III) and over than in the top-ten (2, #2 Justin Thomas and #10 Sergio Garcia).

I picked who I thought would get to the weekend and of my 16 picks, only four made it (Jason Day, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed and Bubba Watson).

So now we are into the weekend and first thing Saturday morning there will be 8 matches that will trim the field to just 8, then in the afternoon 4 more will advance to Sunday.

So let’s preview Saturday’s matches and see who I think will be left and go to the finals.

7:30 a.m.

Brian Harman vs. Bubba Watson

Have to say both players look good, in his first match it halved with Jhonattan Vegas who won 18 with a birdie.  In Harman’s 2nd match he beat Peter Uihlein the beat Rory McIlroy 5 & 3 to advance.  Now Bubba Watson beat Branden Grace 5 & 3, then beat Marc Leishman 3 & 2 and then barely got a halve with Julian Suri.  Watson was 2 down with 2 to play and birdied 17 and 18 to a half and victory.  Have to say the way Watson came back from the dead was crucial and since his win at Genesis has played great, so in the battle of the lefties, I can’t see Harman adding Watson.

My choice – Bubba Watson

 

7:41 a.m.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat vs. Charles Howell III

I for one thought a lot about Aphibarnrat who won the 2015 Paul Lawrie Match Play and then last month the Handa World Super 6 which was match play on the weekend.  What is impressive Kiradech beat Chez Reavie 3 & 2 and in the second round beat Keegan Bradley.  He then beat Jon Rahm 4 & 3 in Round 3, yes Rahm had nothing to play for losing a match and then getting a halve in another one.  Still, Aphibarnrat was impressive, and I feel he will go a long way, but Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia and Justin Thomas are on his side of the bracket, so he does have a lot of work ahead of him.  Now Charles Howell III won his group last year but lost to Jon Rahm in the round of 16.  Once Howell beat Phil Mickelson in round 1, you had to think he was in overdrive playing again Rafael Cabrera-Bello (beat 3 & 1) then Satoshi Kodaira 2 & 1.  But Howell won’t have it easy with Aphibarnrat and Howell will go home

My choice – Kiradech Aphibarnrat

 

7:52 a.m.

Sergio Garcia vs. Kyle Stanley

Of course, on paper, you have to think that Sergio will be a big favorite.  Especially after he cruised through all three of his matches.  As for Stanley, he got a lot of help when Matthew Fitzpatrick beat Paul Casey and then Stanley birdied the 2nd playoff hole to beat Casey.  Still, Garcia looks so relaxed and smooth, I can’t see him losing

My Choice – Sergio Garcia

 

8:03 a.m.

Justin Thomas vs. Si Woo Kim

Thomas like Garcia cruised in his 3 matches having no problem.  He had a short day on Friday beating Francesco Molinari 7 & 5.  As for Kim, he had to work hard, in his first match with Pat Perez he had a 2 up lead with three holes to play as Perez won 16 and 17 on the way to getting a halve.  So Kim had to win his next two matches which he did beating Webb Simpson 2 up on Friday.  Kim could be tough since he has yet to be behind in any of his matches for 51 holes.  Kim also has made 15 birdies, but I see Thomas on a roll.  He hasn’t trailed in his 48 holes and is playing well, with a win by Thomas it sets up a terrific afternoon match with Sergio Garcia.

My Choice – Justin Thomas

 

8:14 a.m.

Cameron Smith vs. Tyrrell Hatton

Hatton had it easy until he ran into a buzz-saw against Charley Hoffman who beat him 3 & 2 on Friday.  That forced him into a playoff with Brendan Steele, and Hatton won it on the first hole.  Cameron Smith was also cruising along, and it looked like he had an easy match on Friday against Yusaku Miyazato and was forced to birdie the 18th hole just to get a halve.  All of Smith’s matches have gone the distance but I see Smith pulling an upset and beating Hatton

My Choice – Cameron Smith

 

8:25 a.m.

Patrick Reed vs. Alex Noren

Could this be a possible preview of a potential Ryder Cup match-up?  I think this could be the best match of the morning. Reed went undefeated in his group and beat Jordan Spieth 2 & 1.  Alex Noren was also undefeated and has only trailed two of the 48 holes he has played.  Noren made it to the quarterfinals last year and had played better than Reed with a 2nd in San Diego and a 3rd in Honda, think this will go to the 18th hole with Noren nipping Reed

My Choice – Alex Noren

 

8:36 a.m.

Louis Oosthuizen vs. Ian Poulter

This is the match of two players we never saw getting past group play.  Now it was stupid thinking that way with Poulter, who not only won this event in 2010 but also won a match play event on the European Tour in 2011.  Poulter has been consistent since he was out most of 2016 with a foot injury.  Now Oosthuizen had his fair share of injuries, including a hand injury in December when his fingers got stuck between two airport trolleys and he was out for a couple of months.  Oosthuizen got out of group play the hard way, beating Jason Day on Friday 2 up and then beating Jason Dufner on the first hole of a playoff.  This match will go to 18, Poulter loves Match Play and does well in it.  He brought back an old friend this week, a mallet putter that he used to win his matches in the 2016 Ryder Cup.  As for Oosthuizen, he is an old hand in getting to the weekend making it there the last four Match Plays including getting to the finals in 2016.  So this will also be a great match, I see Oosthuizen winning.

My Choice – Louis Oosthuizen

 

8:47 a.m.

Kevin Kisner vs. Matt Kuchar

After getting a halve his first match with Adam Hadwin, Kisner beat Bernd Wiesberger 5 & 4 and then took care of the defending champion Dustin Johnson 4 & 3.  Kisner was only behind for two holes in his first match, so he has been on a role.  As for Kuchar, he beat Ross Fisher on Friday in just 14 holes in a match that he made a hole in one.  He struggled in his first match getting a halve with Zach Johnson, but got better with each hole after that and is on a roll.  Both Kuchar and Kisner have struggled of late, but Kuchar has such an excellent Match Play record including winning the U.S. Amateur you have to give him the edge.

My Choice – Matt Kuchar

So there you have it, but what happens after that.

In the afternoon I see Bubba Watson against Kiradech Aphibarnrat who is an excellent Match Player, I see Aphibarnrat winning.

In the next match, Sergio Garcia will face Justin Thomas and I give the nod to Thomas in a match well fought.

The Third match between Cameron Smith and Alex Noren, I see Smith beating the European.

Then Louis Oosthuizen against Matt Kuchar, again Kuchar is good at Match Play I see him winning.

 

Now to Sunday

Aphibarnrat faces Justin Thomas, and it’s no match as Thomas effortlessly cruises to victory

Cameron Smith up against Matt Kuchar, again Kuchar is excellent in Match Play and will advance

 

The Finals and Consolation Match

The match between Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Cameron Smith, I see Aphibarnrat winning it, and thanks to that gains a PGA Tour card for the rest of 2018

The Finals between Justin Thomas and Matt Kuchar, Thomas will be picking up more steam after every win, and I see him easily winning the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship.

 

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

Those in the finals:

Justin Thomas

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T39 T61

Has looked great and when Thomas looks good he is very tough to beat. Can’t see anyone stronger than him beating him

Matt Kuchar

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T30 T9 T34 T9 Win T5 3 T17

Has a great Match Play record and will get to the finals, but Thomas will be too sharp for Kuchar to beat.

Consolation Match:

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T18 T33

Has won a match play event in Europe, plus two months ago won the ISPS Handa World Super 8 which had match play over the weekend. He has shown how good he is at Match Play

Cameron Smith

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

Has played well this week and he will show how good of a player he really it.

Getting to the Quarter-finals

Bubba Watson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T9 T28 T17 T9 T9 T17 4

Has broken out of his two year funk, he will be ready for Augusta

Sergio Garcia

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T30 T18 T34 T9 T17 T33 4 T33 T17 T17

What a great week for him with the birth of Azalea last week and playing well this week. He too will be ready for the Masters.

Alex Noren

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T5 T17 T33

The fine play on the PGA Tour continues, he is showing how he is one of the best Europeans playing right now.

Louis Oosthuizen

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T17 2 T5 T5 T17 T17 T33 T33

He is tough in this event, always seems to find his way to the weekend.

At least they made it to the weekend

Kyle Stanley

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T17

One of the surprises to get out of group play, just beating Casey in the Friday playoff was worth the price of admission for Kyle.

Si Woo Kim

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T30

This guy keeps on proving what a young talent he is.

Tyrrell Hatton

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T17

Just a notch below Noren, he will be tough in the Ryder Cup.

Patrick Reed

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T51 T9 T17 T17

One of the forgotten ones, he too will be an important weapon for the Americans in the Ryder Cup

Ian Poulter

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T34 T33 4 T33 T33 Win T9 T17 T9 T33

Has gotten back into the World top-50, the place where he likes to be and makes a ton of money.

Charles Howell III

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T9 T17 T17 T9 T33

Talking about money, there is no one better on the PGA Tour making money without winning.

Brian Harman

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

The lefty again proved what a solid player he is getting out of group play.

Kevin Kisner

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T17 T38

Breaking out of his slump, he always is better in the summer months

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.