Jason Day and Marc Leishman have been drawn in the same group for this week’s WGC Dell Match Play.
One of our favourite tournaments for the year tees off tomorrow at the Austin Country Club in Texas, the 2017 WGC Dell Technologies Match Play.
The tournament runs over five days beginning with three days of round robin matches (Wed – Fri) which will see the leading player in each of the 16 groups of four moving on to the round of 16 matches on Saturday morning. The quarter-final matches take place Saturday afternoon with the semi-final and 18-hole final played on Sunday.
Click here for Australian TV Times and Schedule for WGC Dell Match Play
Just two Australians are playing in the field this year, with Adam Scott withdrawing from the event to concentrate on preparing for the Masters in a few weeks time. A few other notable players have also decided to skip this event including Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose, giving some indication that perhaps this tournament scheduled too close to the first major of the year.
So it’s left to Jason Day and Marc Leishman to fly the Australian flag this week, but unfortunately only one of them will progress to the round of 16 as both have been drawn in the same group for the round robin matches.
Form does go out the window a bit with match play because it’s a head-to-head style of golf and not each golfer versus the course, but Day and Leishman should have plenty of confidence going into this week as they match up against Lee Westwood and Pat Perez in group 3.
Leishman’s game had been brewing nicely before his superb win at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational and is second only to Tyrrell Hatton in the strokes gained from putting stats on the PGA Tour this year. Day isn’t on top of his game a the moment after returning from a bout of double-ear infection but the two-time winner (and defending champ) is a fighter and always difficult to beat one-on-one.
The favourites and a few picks
Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson are the experts’ favourites to win this week with Spieth and Day not far behind. Day beat McIlroy in the semi-final last year and went on to beat Louis Oosthuizen in the final. But we wouldn’t discount a few outsiders to go close to winning this week with the wonderful match play format always throwing up a few upsets.
Soren Kjeldsen was superb in the teams format world Cup of Golf at Kingston Heath last November and is building together some good form. Definitely one to keep an eye on but has Rory McIlroy to get past in his first match.
As mentioned England’s Tyrrell Hatton leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting this season and has one of the best run of finishes of anyone for some time. Hatton’s last six tournament finishes read: T4th, 10th, T4th, T3th, T13th and 2nd.
Group 1 – Dustin Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Martin Kaymer, Webb Simpson
Group 2 – Rory McIlroy, Emiliano Grillo, Gary Woodland, Soren Kjeldsen
Group 3 – Jason Day, Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood, Pat Perez
Group 4 – Hideki Matsuyama, Louis Oosthuizen, Ross Fisher, Jim Furyk
Group 5 – Jordan Spieth, Ryan Moore, Yuta Ikeda, Hideto Tanihara
Group 6 – Justin Thomas, Matt Fitzpatrick, Kevin Na, Chris Wood
Group 7 – Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm, Kevin Chappell, Shane Lowry
Group 8 – Alex Noren, Francesco Molinari, Bernd Wiesberger, Thongchai Jaidee
Group 9 – Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka, Kevin Kisner, Jason Dufner
Group 10 – Tyrrell Hatton, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Jeunghun Wang, Charles Howell III
Group 11 – Danny Willett, Russell Knox, Bill Haas, K.T. Kim
Group 12 – Paul Casey, Charl Schwartzel, Byeong-Hun An, Joost Luiten
Group 13 – Bubba Watson, Thomas Pieters, Scott Piercy, Jhonattan Vegas
Group 14 – Phil Mickelson, J.B. Holmes, Daniel Berger, Si Woo Kim
Group 15 – Branden Grace, Brandt Snedeker, William McGirt, Andy Sullivan
Group 16 – Matt Kuchar, Tommy Fleetwood, Zach Johnson, Brendan Steele