The WGC-Dell Match Play Championship | 23 March – 27 March | Austin Country Club
This week the best golfers in the world will be heading to Texas for the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship, an event that looks certain to keep us all entertained for the next five days. This time around, the event will be hosted by the Austin Country Club, a course which has never hosted an event of this calibre and about which not much is known.
Measuring just over 7,000 yards it is said that this par 71 layout features two vastly different nines with the back nine proving more difficult than the front. Although we’ve never actually seen the course, we do know that it plays short and that accuracy is going to be key, especially on the back nine which runs along Lake Austin. The pressure will be on off the tee throughout these nine holes as misplaced drives could end up in the water and one lost hole could mean the difference between winning and losing. Apart from that, the ability to keep calm under pressure and experience in this format will be invaluable. There are a host of talented young golfers participating this week who may struggle against those with experience in the Ryder Cup, so look out for players who know how to handle match play golf.
Overall this promises to be an event to keep a close eye on, especially as there will be interesting matchups to bet on each day. Let;’s hope we can pick out the eventual winner though.
To Win Outright
Jason Day: 12/1 | Jordan Spieth: 12/1 | Rory McIlroy: 12/1 | Adam Scott: 14/1 |Bubba Watson: 14/1
Shane Lowry (80/1 Win & 14/1 Place)
This challenging format means that even the best in the world are priced up at above 10-1 this week but as much as I’m tempted to start by backing a favourite, the first player to catch my eye is Shane Lowry. This talented Irishman has had an up and down season so far but when he’s hit the ball well he’s managed to hit more fairways than most and he is no stranger to match play golf, having competed and excelled in the Ryder Cup. There’s no way he should be priced up at 80-1 and even though only four places are being paid out I will be backing Lowry each way.
Jimmy Walker (45/1 Win & 8/1 Place)
There aren’t many players competing here who know what to expect this week but Jimmy Walker is one of the few who has played here before and his course knowledge should give him an advantage over the rest of the field. Walker seems to excel in Texas and won the Valero Texas Open in front of his home crowd last year and he also arrives here with Ryder Cup experience under his belt. At this price Walker can’t be ignored, I’m backing him each way.
Paul Casey (33/2 Win & 6/1 Place)
Paul Casey seems to have found some form lately and last week he played some great golf on his way to a 9th place finish in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He was hitting his irons well in Florida and hit more greens in regulation than almost anyone and if he can do that this week, he should be able to keep the pressure on his opponents and come out on top. He’s also got a ton of Ryder Cup and match play experience and at this price can’t be ignored.
Danny Willet (40/1 Win & 7/1 Place)
Anyone can win this event and so rather than make my Top Bet an obvious pick, I’ve decided to throw caution to the wind and back an in-form Danny Willet. Every time he tees off on the European Tour he seems to come close to winning and thus far this season he has managed four top 5’s and a win. Last year, Willet shot the lights out in this event and managed a very respectable third place finish, I’m hoping for more of the same this week.