This week in golf: Kisner can unlock WGC Dell Match Play returns
This week in golf there is only one place to be and that’s Austin, Texas for the WGC Dell Match Play and Ladbrokes news have cooked up a succulent treble for the occasion.
Texas’ state capital welcomes the top 64 golfers on terra firma to Austin Country Club, where Rory McIlroy will defend his 2015 title on an unfamiliar layout, which places a large premium on accuracy and skills around the green, with short approaches the norm.
The tight course, framed by lakes, should provide plenty of entertainment and maybe the odd splash.
McIlroy is joined by two past champions in the star-studded field, including 2014 winner Jason Day whose game looks to be in pristine shape after claiming the Arnold Palmer Invitational only days before this Wednesday start.
Keeping consistency with last season’s refreshed format, the top seeds are separated among 16 groups of four to contest a round robin Wednesday-Friday (with sudden death play-offs where necessary) sending through just 16 players for the weekend.
After assessing the various group dynamics, we’ve picked out this tasty-looking multiple:
Jordan Spieth to win Group 1 @ 8/11 (Justin Thomas, Jamie Donaldson, Victor Dubuisson)
Having sealed his practice-round bragging rights with a birdie, Texas’ finest will be gunning for childhood friend Thomas for real this time as well as his Ryder Cup foes from Gleneagles to create some momentum ahead of the Masters.
A ten-day break should have done the world number one good and although he’s been a little conspicuous by his absence from the winners enclosure since January, consecutive finishes in the teens and plenty of positive short-game stats should at least see him hurdle the group.
Jason Day to win Group 2 @ 1/1 (Paul Casey, Thongchai Jaidee, Graeme McDowell)
The likes of Casey, a quarter-finalist a year ago, and seasoned Ryder Cup campaigner McDowell give this group a tricky-looking complexion, but Day is a worthy favourite.
Known for striking the ball long and hard, the Aussie’s underrated short game came to the fore on Sunday where he was 4-for-7 in scrambling en-route to victory and those skills will be needed again in Austin.
In this form, Day looks a fine 12/1 outright chance to claim a second WGC Match Play of his career.
Kevin Kisner to win Group 12 @ 5/2 (Hideki Matsuyama, Soren Kjeldsen, Rafael Cabrera-Bello)
Occupying 10th in the FedExCup standings, Japan’s Matsuyama is starting to realise his potential with some consistency this season.
However, the trump card in this acca is Kisner, who is also a winner on the PGA Tour this season and has four top-10s to his name to Matsuyama’s three.
These exploits have placed him second only to Adam Scott in the USA-based Tour’s earnings list this season.
A second place finish in the most recent WGC event shows the American is comfortable among the sport’s cream and being within the PGA Tour’s top 10 for three key course attributes – driving accuracy, sand saves and birdie average – he has to the value group pick.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.