WGC Match Play: DJ to show powers in Austin…

The PGA Tour sees a slight change of pace this week, with the Austin Country Club in Texas hosting the WGC Match Play, a five day event played under the match play format instead of the usual stroke play.

The top 64 players are divided into 16 groups of four based on world rankings, with the top two from each group making their way through to the knockout phase having played each individual in their group.

Our win selection is Dustin Johnson. The world no. 1 has been a little quiet of late, but the Masters is just around the corner and he will be keen to play well as he tries to defend his title. This is a course he has shone on, particularly with his dominant win in 2017, and his group includes two debutants, Robert MacIntyre and Adam Long, as well as the inconsistent Kevin Na.

We think if this was a normal stroke play event, with 64 players, DJ would go off a lot shorter than the 14/1 available now, so we’re going to side with the American.

We would usually side with another player in a regular PGA event, but given the uncertain nature of this event we’re going to keep some powder dry to see how the group stages and the subsequent draw work out.

The different groups also offer some betting opportunities. The top seed in Group 5 is Bryson DeChambeau, a group that also includes Tommy Fleetwood, Si Woo Kim and Antoine Rozner. The big hitter is 6/5 to win the group, which we think offers value given Fleetwood is struggling and Rozner is new to the event.

Group 6 is head up by Xander Schauffele, and we’re fans of the young American. However, he only has an average record at this event, while Jason Day is a former winner who has shown signs of returning to form this year. He’s 12/5 to top the group.

Next up is Group 7, in which Patrick Reed is the 11/8 favourite. Captain America is clearly the man to beat – he’s been impressive in both the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup, and has twice won all three group games here in Austin.

The top seed in Group 15 is Matthew Fitzpatrick, but we prefer Jordan Speith, at 9/5. The Texan has contended three times in his last five starts, showing a return to form after a couple of years in the wilderness. He’s been second in his group in each of the last three years, but is playing a lot better now.

Recommendations:

Dustin Johnson to win, 1 pt, at 14/1, widely available

DeChambeau, Day, Reed and Speith to win their groups, four trebles and an accumulator (prices from Paddy Power)

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