DAY 3 – 3RD ROUND MATCH ACCUMULATORS
You should all hopefully have a bit of money to play with now after the 10/1 accumulator win yesterday. With only 8 matches, the odds are of course going to be low. Our confident bet today is:
4-fold (7/1 Stan James) – Harris English, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, Jason Day
And a more risky:
6-fold (20/1 Stan James) – Harris English, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Jason Day, Jason Dufner
DAY 2 – 2ND ROUND MATCH ACCUMULATORS
9-fold (80/1 Stan James) – Bubba Watson W, Jordan Spieth W, Rory McIlroy L, Hunter Mahan W, Webb Simpson W, Matt Kuchar W, Graeme McDowell W, Jason Day W, Patrick Reed L
If you are looking to put a larger stake on, our more confident bet is:
5-fold (10/1 Stan James) – Bubba Watson W, Matt Kuchar W, Graeme McDowell W, Hunter Mahan W, Jordan Spieth W – WIN
Prize Fund: $9,000,000
This tournament in 2013 was without doubt the finest moment in DownThe18th’s history to date. We managed to pick 3 of the 4 semi-finalists (Kuchar, Mahan and Poulter) and not only did we have their single bets but we also had them in a lucky 15 which paid a very tidy sum of money. Not to mention the 8-fold day 2 match accumulator at 76/1 we had come in. All in all it was a great week. So a year later and the pressure is firmly on as it will be hard to replicate our previous success.
The thing is with match play events, it’s not just about a player’s form, or how the course is set up. It’s about knowing the player inside out and whether you can truly tell yourself, can they play their best golf under intense pressure over five gruelling days? Take Ian Poulter for instance. He came into this last year having not played for 6 weeks but his temperament and passion for winning was something only 3 other people in the field could match. Someone who knows how to get the job done under pressure will usually outweigh any form the opponent is in.
Then we need to look at are they suited to the course? The 5 days will be played at the Ritz-Carlton GC, Dove Mountain in Tucson, Arizona. Looking at the yardage, 7,791 yards, anyone who consistently drives the ball over 300 yards is going to have an advantage, as long as it’s straight that is. The rough will not be Merion-esque, but it will certainly hamper your approach to the greens. So Bubba’s sometimes erratic driving, which went unpunished last week, could be found out here. We’re not saying he can’t win it mind. But it’s in and around the greens where the matches will be won and lost. The amount of times people will have to scramble up and down to win a hole is unprecedented. If your man can’t scramble under pressure, he will not make it past the third round. And then there is the small matter of holing the putts.
If you are one for statistics, we have particularly looked at total driving (accounts for accuracy and distance), scrambling, strokes gained-putting, GIR, ball striking, final round scoring average (to see how they perform under pressure) and approaches from 75-100yards (to see how their wedge game is looking).
Just to highlight course form importance. All of the previous 4 winners on this course had at least made it to the 3rd round before. And if you can, check out any previous match-play experience your pick has. Ryder Cup, Volvo World Match Play, President’s Cup, Royal Trophy, Seve Trophy, World Cup and the Walker Cup are all match-play style events. The more experience they have, the better. And don’t forget this is a WGC event which is a step down from a major, so the pressure will be well and truly on.
You will also find there is no Tiger, Phil or Scott here this week. Which we feel will make it even more interesting. Play will also start a day earlier on Wednesday to fit in the 5 days.
Because of the uniqueness that Matchplay brings and this tournament in particular, we are putting our big stake on a cheeky Lucky 15. Basically we have nit-picked through each bracket (before the revelation of odds came out today) and come to the conclusion of 4 names. The beauty of a Lucky 15 is that all 30 permeations possible are included and e/w money on this can warrant big returns.
Our main Lucky 15 –
Jason Day (4/1 to win Bobby Jones bracket)
Sergio Garcia (6/1 to win Ben Hogan bracket)
Hunter Mahan (6/1 to win Sam Snead bracket)
Jordan Spieth (5/1 to win Gary Player bracket)
Our second Lucky 15 –
Jason Day (4/1 to win Bobby Jones bracket)
Rory McIlroy (4/1 to win Ben Hogan bracket)
Bubba Watson (13/2 to win Sam Snead bracket)
Matt Kuchar (11/2 to win Gary Player bracket)
Our silly, but rational Lucky 15 –
Patrick Reed (18/1 to win Bobby Jones bracket)
Harris English (14/1 to win Ben Hogan bracket)
Ernie Els (18/1 to win Gary Player bracket)
Graeme McDowell (17/1 to win Sam Snead bracket)
Outrights worth considering
Sergio Garcia (25/1 Various)
In the shape that Garcia is in at the moment, it is hard to look anywhere else. The Spaniard comes into this off the back of some tremendous form, the highlight of which was his victory at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters a few weeks ago.
One thing that has always been aimed at Garcia is his ability in and around the greens but he is red hot at the moment. His chipping and putting has never been better. Combine that with his superb iron-play and there is a mean prospect for match play.
He has also been part of 4 winning Ryder Cup teams. The draw was the final straw for us in choosing Garcia. We can only really see Ian Poulter challenging him from bottom half of the Ben Hogan bracket and then we feel it will be a shootout in the bracket final with Rory McIlroy.
If he gets past that his confidence will be soaring and he might be able to bag his first WGC title. It is quite incredible someone of Sergio’s standing has not won a big trophy of some sort. Well now is the time. He also did get to the play-off here in 2010, so he knows the course well.
Jordan Spieth (25/1 Various)
Making Jordan Spieth the Gary Player bracket favourite shows not only what a player he is but also what kind of form he is in. The past couple of weeks in truth have promised a lot more, challenging heavily in both tournaments.
The terrible conditions a couple of weeks ago at Pebble Beach got the better of him on day 3 whilst it seemed nobody was stopping Bubba Watson winning last week. But even so, he has still played some of the best golf on the tour.
Now this is his first time at the WGC Match Play and we know it is something he will relish. Spieth if you didn’t know wears his heart on his sleeve and has copious amounts of passion, sometimes too much!
But it is this winning mentality that will give him the edge over others this week, not to mention the youthful exuberance the 20 year old possesses. As an amateur he took part in the 2011 Walker Cup and won both of his singles matches whilst he took part in the 2013 Presidents Cup where he won 2 out of his first 4 matches. Not bad for a first timer.
That match play experience will prove vital this week. His draw is of course tough but we feel his biggest obstacle will be Matt Kuchar.
And the 2013 Champion missed his first cut in a long time last week so he could be there for the taking! And don’t worry about whether he has all the tools for this course, he does everything.
Jason Day (18/1 various)
Jason Day is one of the most consistent performers on tour, which is an incredible advantage when it comes to 5 days of matchplay golf. He rarely wins however and this is something that we can see changing this year – and on a big scale.
A WGC event is a milestone for any top pro and Day has all the attributes to attack this course in a format that he is comfortable with and has all the fiery passion that is needed.
Firstly, he has never lost in the first round here, reaching the Semi-Finals in 2013, losing to Hunter Mahan but beating Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Graeme McDowell and Russell Henley in the meantime. That is no easy feat.
In the 2013 Presidents Cup, he showed incredible character and determination after losing 4 and 3 to Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley alongside Graham DeLaet, by halving the return match and beating Steve Stricker and Spieth.
He then went on to a crushing 6 and 4 victory against Brandt Snedeker in the singles, which shows his mental capacity is at its highest in matchplay.
He is one of the longer hitters on tour (52nd), an incredible iron player (14th GIR) and 25th in scoring average – all of which can effect the mindset of his opponents. He also lies 15th in final round scoring average which is an interesting stat considering that Sundays are usually the day when the pressure is on the most.
All in all, Jason needs to prove to the world he is part of that top elite by winning big tournaments and his record in majors is unbelievable (6 top 10s in 12 appearances), so we know he has the ability. This could finally be his Day.
Hunter Mahan (25/1 various)
Hunter Mahan is without doubt one of the leading golfers in the world and at the end of the day, this sort of tournament usually warrants a top player to win it.
He has an unbelievable record here – 2nd last year, winning in 2012 and reaching the R16 the year before. He is coming into the tournament with a bit of form as well, although finishing T52 last week, he had two top 10s beforehand and when his game is in rhythm he can be very dangerous, especially in a matchplay format.
He has won his last 3 singles matches in the Presidents Cup and lost just 2 out of his 8 Ryder Cup ties – the perfect pedigree.
In terms of stats, he is 5th in total driving, 38th GIR 200, 4th strokes gained putting and 18th going for the green – all of which add up to a perfect matchplay guru. Come on Hunter.
We will also be entertaining ourselves in two accumulators for the first day and then COME BACK for our daily accumulators, which we will update on the blog.
Here, is our first and ridiculous 21-fold accumulator (please be warned that some bookmakers only allow up to 14 separate bets. StanJames would be our recommended bookmaker.)
ALL TO WIN –
Ian Poulter, Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Matt Kuchar, Ryan Moore, Charl Schwartzel, Jim Furyk,. Graeme McDowell, Brandt Snedeker, Jason Dufner, Rory McIlroy, Harris English, Zach Johnson, Hunter Mahan, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose and Ernie Els.
Our more sensible 11-fold –
Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Matt Kuchar, Ryan Moore, Brandt Snedeker, Rory McIlroy, Hunter Mahan, Henrik Stenson, Keegan Bradley and Jordan Spieth.