TPC Harding Park, San Francisco, California
7,115 yards Par 71
We had another great week in New Orleans tipping Justin Rose at 10/1 and Cameron Tringale at 50/1. That makes Justin Rose our ninth winner of the season and Cameron Tringale our 12th each way place. Let’s keep it going for the Matchplay this week!
The Course and Format
There is a new format this year with 64 players being divided into 16 groups of four who will compete in a round robin style. The winner of each group will go forward into a final group of 16 and will play in a bracket format. Each player will get to play three matches, one each against the others in the group. All matches will be taking place from Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with the finalists going through to the weekend. Previous winners include Jason Day (2014), Matt Kuchar (2013), Hunter Mahan (2012), Luke Donald (2011), Ian Poulter (2010) Geoff Ogilvy (2009) and Tiger Woods (2008).
TPC Harding Park is a 7,127 yard par 71 and hosted the WGC American Express event back in 2005 and the Presidents Cup in 2009. It has three par 5’s, two of which are the first and 18th, four par 3’s and 11 par 4’s. The course is a fairly flat layout wit tree lined fairways and some dog legs. The greens are not too difficult and there are not too many bunkers to contend with.
The main things to lookout for are par 4 scoring; strokes gained putting, GIR and good matchplay players. Be on the lookout for players that have had success in The Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and previous WGC Matchplay events over the last few years. This week has the looks of being a little unpredictable so keep your stake low as anything could happen!
Jordan Spieth 9/1
After a favourable draw getting Lee Westwood, Mikko Ilonen and Matt Every, Jordan Spieth should have no problem topping his group and progressing to the final 16. However, they may not be as easy as you think. Westwood and Ilonen both have good matchplay records with Westy a Ryder Cup veteran and Ilonen a previous winner of the Volvo World Matchplay. Spieth is the best player on the planet at the moment in terms of form and has a good matchplay record in both The Ryder Cup, where he played superb with fellow rookie Patrick Reed, and in this event in Arizona last year, where he reached the quarter finals only to be beaten 4 and 2 to Ernie Els.
Spieth has recorded two wins in his last five events, which came at Augusta and The Valspar. He also finished solo 2nd in Texas and lost in a playoff in Houston. In his last eight events, he has only finished outside the top 10 twice. The youngster also ticks a lot of statistical boxes ranking fifth in strokes gained tee to green, eighth in strokes gained putting, 22nd in par 3 scoring and second in par 4 scoring. With superb current form and a favourable group, Jordan Spieth looks a worthy favourite here this week.
Jason Day 16/1
After being in contention last week in New Orleans, Day made a couple of late bogeys and took himself out of it. In an interview afterwards, he admitted that humidity and the fact that he had to play roughly 30 holes on Sunday took a lot out of him, especially on the back nine, which made him make some unforced errors due to a lack of concentration. That’s fair enough.
He faces Charley Hoffman, Zach Johnson and Branden Grace in group 7 and should advance to the final 16. After winning this event last year in a final round tussle with Victor Dubuisson, Day managed to get the job done, despite the Frenchman’s stunning scrambling. The Aussie has been playing well this season with a win at Torrey Pines and a further three top five’s in his last eight starts.
He ranks seventh in GIR, 15th in stroke gained tee to green, first in par 4 scoring and second in par 3 scoring. With a great matchplay record in both this event and in The Presidents Cup, Day could be a danger man here, especially after a good performance last week in New Orleans.
I think the young American could have a great week in San Fran this week given his performance in The Ryder Cup and his very competitive prowess. He is grouped with Danny Willett, Andy Sullivan and Ryan Moore. He is playing well this year with a win at The Hyundai Tournament of Champions back in January and top 10’s at The Honda Classic and a P2 at The Valspar in which he lost in a playoff to Jordan Spieth.
Most recently, he had an MC at The RBC Heritage, but finished in a respectable T22 at Augusta and a T17 in Houston. Statswise he seems to fit well here ranking 19th in strokes gained tee to green, 21st in strokes gained putting, 32nd in par 3 scoring, 22nd in par 4 scoring and 11th in par 5 scoring. With a favourable draw in the group stages and good matchplay pedigree, Reed is another player capable of having a good week.
Ian Poulter 33/1
Poulter is playing well so far this season and has been inside the top 25 in five of his last six events. He played well at The Honda Classic finishing T3, which would have been a lot better if it weren’t for a disappointing final round 74. He continued that good run of form with a T24 at The Valspar, T21 at Bay Hill and a superb T6 in Augusta. Despite a 73 in round one, Poulter went on to shoot 72, 67,67 over the weekend and hit most greens in regulation for the tournament.
We all know he thrives in a matchplay environment and has the Ryder Cup and WGC Matchplay record to prove it. He has played well in this event over the years reaching the Quarter Finals in 2013 and defeated Paul Casey in the final to win in 2010. Poulter ranks 32nd in GIR, 37th in strokes gained tee to green, 14th in three putt avoidance and sixth in par 4 scoring. If he gets the putter hot and starts well, he could be a tough man to beat.
Paul Casey 33/1
Casey is playing good golf so far this season with three top 10’s in his last five starts. He had a good week at The Honda Classic finishing T3 and followed that with a solo 9th in Houston and an impressive T6 at The Masters. Casey was another player who hit a lot of greens in Augusta and putted superbly. He has a great matchplay record performing in three Ryder Cups and reaching two WGC Matchplay finals. He got to the final in 2009, but was beaten by Geoff Ogilvy and reached the final in 2010, where he was beaten by fellow countryman Ian Poulter 7 and 6.
Casey ranks 16th in GIR, 17th in strokes gained tee to green, 14th in par 4 scoring and sixth in par 5 scoring. With a great matchplay record and good current form, Paul Casey will be well rested and ready to contend this week.
Final selections –
Jordan Speith 2 pts EW 9/1
Jason Day 1 pt EW 16/1
Patrick Reed 1 pt EW 25/1
Ian Poulter 1 pt EW 33/1
Paul Casey 1 pt EW 33/1
Total staked = 12 pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf,
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