The PGA Tour is back in action this week for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, but with a twist of their own for “March Madness.” This week will see 64 golfers tee it up in match play pods, with the golfer who earns the most points advancing out of pool play. Saturday morning will start the Sweet 16 and the Championship Match will be Sunday afternoon between the last two survivors. Match play always adds an interesting element because you don’t have to beat an entire field, just one opponent at a time. This event will be played at Austin Country Club, which is just north of 7100 yards. It is not an overly narrow course, but does require precision at times, and generally, the best putters will advance when it comes to match play!
Player To Fade:
Scott Stallings has been off to a decent start this season, making 8/11 cuts, but my reason for fading him in this spot is because of who is in his group. He must contend with the world number 3 in Rory McIlroy, as well as Keegan Bradley and Denny McCarthy, who both have the ability of getting out of the group stage. Scott has been gaining strokes putting, but his ball striking has been a major letdown as of late, as he has been consistently losing strokes on approach and off the tee. If that continues into this week, then look for him to catch an early flight.
Brian Harman has had a solid start to his PGA Tour season this year with 8 made cuts, as well as two top 10s. He has a career 5-4-3 record in match play, and I believe he has a great chance to get out of his group, especially if he can take down the favorite to advance, Patrick Cantlay. He has been recently gaining strokes off the tee, as well as with the putter, so if that continues, I expect Brian to “survive and advance.”
Tyrell Hatton, who is known for his on-course antics, is really rounding into form in recent weeks. He has not missed a cut this season, and has 3 top 10s, including two top 5s in his last couple of starts. He has been gaining a ton of strokes on approach, and that will certainly help him here. If he starts making putts, then he will be dangerous in this format. I expect him to advance out of his group this weekend, and maybe even make a run at the Championship.
One of the best ball strikers on tour and a guy that flies under the radar at times sounds like a winner to me. I’m taking Collin Morikawa this week. He has a tough group stage, but if he can advance, then look out! He already has 3 top 10s this year, but has yet to pick up that win. I think that changes this week because of his approach game. The man always gains strokes on approach, and if he continues to hit it close, he’s going to make birdies, and that will always get the job done in match play. A tough match with Jason Day looms, but I look for Collin to come out on top and join the winners circle this weekend.