WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play – Gambling/DFS Preview & Bracket

Austin Country Club – Austin, TX

Course Breakdown

Par 71, 7108 yds, Pete Dye design so accuracy and placement off the tee is more important than distance, 3 reachable Par 5s and a reachable Par 4, 110 bunkers on the course and 5 water hazards, the front 9 is much tighter off the tee and the back 9 is much wider and trees line the fairways a bit more on the back than the front, bunkers are in play off the tee with there’s also water on a few holes, wide array of green sizes with greens guarded by pot bunkers, water and multiple runoff areas, firm and quick Bermuda greens with lots of undulation

Tournament Format

  • Golfers are split into 16 groups of 4 players (each group with a golfer seeded 1-16, 17-32, 33-48, 49-64). Each group plays in round robin format on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Golfers get a point per win and a half point per tie. The winner of each group moves onto the weekend (with sudden death stroke play playoffs to determine any ties within a group).
  • Standard match play tournament with round of 16 and quarterfinals on Saturday with the semifinal, 3rd place playoff and final played on Sunday.
  • Louis and Kuchar are the only two to have advanced from their group 3 of the 4 years here

Tournament Notes

  • This tournament has been held at Austin Country Club since 2016
  • The winner of this tournament has only defended their win once (Tiger in 2004)
  • Historical strokes gained data doesn’t help much this week since there really aren’t stats for a lot of these since you don’t play full rounds when winning matches
  • #1 seeds have less than a 50% rate of moving onto the single elimination rounds on the weekend
  • 17% of the lowest rank players in their group on group play advance

DraftKings/Betting Notes

  • DK scoring this week is: 3 pts for every hole won, 0.75 pts for holes halved, -0.75 pts for holes lost, 1.6 pts each to the winner for holes not played, match won 5 pts, 2 pts for a match halved, 5pts for 3 consecutive holes won, 7.5 pts for no holes lost in a match, if someone WDs the non-WD player in the match gets 33.8 total pts
  • Fill out a bracket, build your core on DK around the four guys you think make the final four and then fill in the other two guys from there so that all you can get one guy from each quadrant to try to maximize guys that can move on
  • Don’t roster two golfers from any single pod from group play or even two golfers that could face each other in the round of 16, you want the most opportunities to move the most guys on to later rounds
  • Bombers that that aren’t accurate off the tee and are down in a match that starts on the front 9 could be a decent live bet going into the back 9 as the course widens up
  • Depending on who you bet if some longer shots come through, you could find some nice hedge opportunities on favorites

Key Stats

Birdie+ %, Opportunities Gained, SG: Approach

Main proximity distance range on approach: 100-125 yds (wedges, who can get themselves close for nice scoring opportunities)

Corollary Courses

Pete Dye courses: TPC River Highlands (Travelers Championship), TPC Louisiana (Zurich Classic), TPC Sawgrass (THE PLAYERS), PGA West Stadium Course (The American Express), Harbour Town Golf Links (RBC Heritage) 

Field

Top 64 players (with fill ins) ten days prior to the event from the Official World Golf Rankings

Defending Champion (2019): Kevin Kisner

Runner Up Last Year (2019): Matt Kuchar

One and Done: Kevin Kisner

Alternate: Jordan Spieth

One and Done Considerations: Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Kevin Kisner

Groups

Group 1: Dustin Johnson, Kevin Na, Robert MacIntyre, Adam Long

I’m not even going to put that much thought into this group. DJ is the class of the entire field and won here in 2017 over Rahm the first year the Match Play was held here and is at the top of pretty much every stat worth looking at. Adam Long and Robert MacIntyre are two of the biggest long shots in the field. Dustin’s the favorite. Na (who’s coming off a WD at THE PLAYERS) has a good history at Match Play and has advanced twice in the last four years here and he plays well at Pete Dye courses. I just don’t see how DJ doesn’t crush him though. I like DJ betting wise to win this group at -110 as well (who along with Rahm is the only -money favorite to win any group. 

Pick: Dustin Johnson

Group 2: Justin Thomas, Louis Oosthuizen, Kevin Kisner, Matt Kuchar

This is by far the best group in group play this year. Louis, Kis and Kuch have the best course history in the field here and have crushed match player. JT’s a top player in the world and is coming off a huge win at The Players. He’s first in Birdie+ %, 2nd in approach, 8th in opportunities gained and 11th in eagle rate. I’d fade Kuchar here since he’s been playing like shit this week but the rest of them all can easily go on to win the whole thing. Louis might have some lower ownership on DK than the other two guys. I’m going with my guy Kis here defending his title (and came in 2nd place to Bubba the year prior). I wouldn’t play any of these guys in DK as they’re going to have a tough way to get the to finals and this is the toughest group play group to get out of.

Pick: Kevin Kisner

Group 3: Jon Rahm, Ryan Palmer, Shane Lowry, Sebastian Munoz

Rahm was 2nd here in his debut in 2017 when he lost in the finals to DJ and by far the best of this group. He’s had success in match play and he’s got a good path to get to the finals from here.

Pick: Jon Rahm

Group 4: Collin Morikawa, Billy Horschel, Max Homa, J.T. Poston

Of this group, Horschel’s the only one here that isn’t making his Match Play debut this year. Morikawa’s obviously the favorite here and he’s 8th in Birdie+ %, 7th in opportunities gained and 1st in approach. Max Homa’s surprisingly not far behind him though and his stats line up as he’s 4th in opportunities gained, 10th in Birdie+ %, 13th in approach and 17th in proximity from 100-125 yds. Poston only plays good at Pete Dye courses and his whole game is just wedges and putting. As much as I wanted to take the contrarian play of Homa over Morikawa here, I just can’t pick against Collin Morikawa out of this group.

Pick: Collin Morikawa

Group 5: Bryson DeChambeau, Tommy Fleetwood, Si Woo Kim, Antoine Rozner

This is an interesting group. Bryson broke golf and I think he just crushes it off the tee to put himself in awesome spots to win holes pretty easily. Si WOOOO is a Pete Dye specialist and all three of his wins have come at Pete Dye courses so he wouldn’t be a bad pick if he didn’t end up in this group but I think Bryson’s gonna kill him. Bryson’s 1st in SG: OTT, 4th in Birdie+ %, 13th in opportunities gained, 14th in eagle rate.

Pick: Bryson DeChambeau

Group 6: Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler, Jason Day, Andy Sullivan

Jason Day won match play twice including once the first time Austin CC held the event and has a good match play record of 24-14-0. His OTT and T2G stats have been good his last 5 events but his putting hasn’t been good lately. Xander’s obviously the best of this group as he’s good (but not great) in every facet of the game. I’ll go with Jason Day here who might be chalky to advance, but I don’t love it especially with Xander having success at WGC’s in the past. I also think either will lose to Rory anyway if they advance anyway. 

Pick: Jason Day

Group 7: Patrick Reed, Joaquin Niemann, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Bubba Watson

Although FATrick Reed has had success in the Ryder Cup in match play, I don’t really have any interest in him this week. Niemann lines up really well statistically and is easily the best of this group in Birdie+ %, opportunities gained, SG: ARG and is 5th on tour in proximity from 100-125 yds. Although Bubba’s playing like shit lately, he’s been good here in the past with a win here in 2018. I’ll take Niemann.

Pick: Joaquin Niemann

Group 8: Tyrrell Hatton, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Matt Wallace

This is a really good European Tour group, that I think comes down to Hatton vs. Sergio. Westwood has been playing awesome lately but he’s been playing way more than he usually does. Sergio has a good match play record and Hatton and Serg have both played pretty well here in the past. I’ll take Hatton here who I think lines up great for the layout of the course and has been playing fantastic in Europe recently. 

Pick: Tyrrell Hatton

Group 9: Webb Simpson, Paul Casey, Mackenzie Hughes, Talor Gooch

Webb and Casey both play well at Pete Dye courses and I don’t think Hughes and Gooch are not gonna win, so I think its a two man race here. Webb hasn’t been great here in the past where I think this maps out great for Casey. I’ll take Paul Casey but it by no way would shock me if Webb wins this group.

Pick: Paul Casey

Group 10: Patrick Cantlay, Hideki Matsuyama, Carlos Ortiz, Brian Harman

Cantlay’s the overwhelming favorite in this group. Ortiz has been really good putting lately, good around the greens and good in the wind. Ortiz lives in Texas and has Harman’s also a really good putter and has advanced out of his group in the past here. Harman’s also been playing really well (3rd at THE PLAYERS) and isn’t a bad pick to get out of this group with a very similar skill set. I’ll take a flyer with Brian Harman here but I think whoever wins this group won’t get far overall anyway.

Pick: Brian Harman

Group 11: Rory McIlroy, Cam Smith, Lanto Griffin, Ian Poulter

Rory got the easy draw here and although Poulter’s been good for Europe in the Ryder Cup in the past and really good in match play with a 43-18-5 internationally. Rory’s been playing shit (for him) lately, but  should easily be able to run through this group. Hear. The. Rors. 

Pick: Rory McIlroy

Group 12: Tony Finau, Jason Kokrak, Will Zalatoris, Dylan Frittelli

This group actually kind of blows to me. I think Tony’s overrated because he never wins. Zalatoris is also having a fantastic rookie season. I’d probably take Zalatoris to make a big splash here while the young kid drains birdies. All four of these guys could win this group. I also think any of these guys will lose the next round to Bryson or Si WOO if either advance from their group. 

Pick: Will Zalatoris

Group 13: Viktor Hovland, Abraham Ancer, Bernd Wiesberger, Kevin Streelman

Ancer’s really good at Pete Dye courses with really good driving and approach lately but his putting has sucked. I’ll take the Texas born guy here. He was 17th here last time he was here and his ballstriking’s been really good lately. The others in this group aren’t bad but I’ll go with Abe Ancer to advance from this group.

Pick: Abraham Ancer

Group 14: Daniel Berger, Harris English, Brendon Todd, Erik van Rooyen

This is a tough group for me to pick and although I think Berger advances here, I don’t hate the others in this group. The key to these guy though is that as long as Rahm advances from his group, they’re running into a buzzsaw. My longer shot pick out of this group would be EvR who won’t be effected by his blowup holes.

Pick: Daniel Berger

Group 15: Matt Fitzpatrick, Matthew Wolff, Corey Conners, Jordan Spieth

Connors stats line up perfectly for this place recently. He’s 6th in opportunities gained, 16th in birdie+ %, 4th in approach, 12th in proximity from 100-125 yds, and 1st in eagle rate. One of my favorite guys on tour though, who hasn’t won in a few years and is my shocking pick to win the Masters, Spieth could have a great spot to be “back” here as his blow up holes of double bogies or worse won’t matter much here as they’ll just be a lost hole instead of setting him back significantly. His stats also line up as he’s 15th in birdie+ %, 14th in approach and 10th in eagles. Matt Fitzpatrick isn’t a bad pick either as he’s been the best player on the Euro Tour recently. I’ll go with my boy Jordan here but I think whoever advances from this group loses the next round to the strongest group in the tournament. 

Pick: Jordan Spieth

Group 16: Sungjae Im, Victor Perez, Marc Leishman, Russell Henley

This group has to match up with the DJ group if they advance. I’d lean Henley here as he’s been popping up on a bunch of my stat models lately but Sungjae would be my second pick here. Whoever wins this group I’d expect is going to lose to DJ (or even Kevin Na) in the next round.

Pick: Russell Henley

Bracket

Here’s my bracket of who I think advances through each round. 

Punta Cana Resort & Championship

One and Done: Sam Ryder

Alternate: Luke List


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