The opening round matches of group play always lead to an exciting Friday at the Dell Match Play. This year was no different as much of the field had a shot at advancing either through winning their own matches or by virtue of help from the other matches in their group.
Unfortunately, we lost a couple of those as both Hideki Matsuyama and Will Zalatoris withdrew prior to the to round. Hideki’s withdraw due to a lingering neck issue made Max Homa the first player through to the weekend. Homa would end up as the first of the seven top sixteen seeds to make it out of group play.
World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler was able to make it through along with third seeded Rory McIlroy, but Jon Rahm fell to Billy Horschel and headed home early. On the other end of the pods, four players ranked 50th or worse made it out of their groups with 61st ranked JJ Spaun being the lowest seed to make the weekend as he swept his opening three matches.
While we don’t have traditional strokes gained data for the round, we’ll look to spot some best bets heading into Saturday from Austin Country Club.
WGC-Dell Match Play Best Bets
Billy Horschel +2000 (BetMGM)
This one is a bit dicey to start the day because there is no question that Cameron Young has been playing some of the best golf so far this week. He’s been a birdie maker early and often on this course, but I like the combination of odds, path to victory and match play experience for Billy Horschel.
Billy is the 2021 winner of this event on this course and when he has his game going tee-to-green, he is one of the tougher match play opponents. He has showed that this week as he survived the difficult Jon Rahm group by beating the current No. 2 player in the world 5&4.
Rickie Fowler and Keith Mitchell were no slouches to get by in that one either, which sets him up well prepared for the test that Young will bring on Saturday morning. If he can get through that tough match, he would get one of Kurt Kitayama and Andrew Putnam.
While both are solid players and clearly playing well to reach this stage, it’s about a good a scenario as you can ask for in a shot to make the Final 4. All of that combined has me leaning to Horschel as my favorite outright add before the weekend play starts.
Patrick Cantlay -155 over Sam Burns (DraftKings)
If you follow along here, you know I am not one to typically lay juice especially in an 18 hole scenario, but in a tough group of matches the one I like best is with Patrick Cantlay on Saturday.
He’s been playing some great golf and just has a form about him this week where I’d be surprised if he isn’t playing on Sunday. Burns certainly is a player that can be a high class opponent as well, but to me he is just a step below Cantlay when he’s at his best and that is the form I am seeing in “Patty Ice’s” game this weekend.
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