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BlogWGC-Dell Match Play – Weekend Picks

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.

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.

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