Now that Round 1 of the Accenture Match Play Championship is (mostly) in the books, and everyone’s winners, Charl, Rory and Tiger are probably back home by now, it’s time for my round 2 picks. These are not the picks I made on my bracket but my picks to win the matches on the schedule…here goes.
Bobby Jones Bracket
16) Shane Lowry vs. 8) Rickie Fowler/ 9) Carl Pettersson: To me, it doesn’t matter who wins the Fowler/Pettersson match because I think that player gets past Lowry. It’s not because Lowry is a 16 seed, or the 64th overall seed. It’s more that he chipped in twice and played a lesser version of Rory, whose swing seems a bit out of whack. Fowler and Pettersson are both in better form than Rory, so whomever comes out of their match takes out Lowry…3&2
13) Alexander Noren vs. 5) Graeme McDowell: I thought the winner of the Harrington McDowell match would go deep in the tournament, so I’ll take McDowell. Noren is in good form but McDowell has so much gritty match play experience from the Ryder Cup, it’s tough to go against him. G-Mac 1up.
2) Bubba Watson vs. 7) Jim Furyk: I thought Chris Wood was going to beat Bubba today, but Watson held on. Furyk’s record is not great here, and I didn’t pick him to get out of the first round, and he won’t get past Watson either, 2&1.
14) Russell Henley vs. 11) Jason Day: Jason Day absolutely waxed Zach Johnson. Day was 6 up through 9 holes when the snow delay set in. It really appears that the Aussie has found the form he had in 2011 with 10 top 10s. Henley bumped the nearly universal favorite and current “World’s Hottest Golfer” Charl Schwartzel, ending the South African’s streak of consecutive top 5s. It can be tough to know if a player is really on a roll after a big win or if it was as much his opponent as himself. I think it might have been the latter for Day and the former for Henley, who wins in 19 holes.
Gary Player Bracket:
16) Charles Howell III vs. 8) Gonzalo Fernandez Castaño/ 9) Francesco Molinari: I think Howell finishing his match Thursday will be a big advantage for him. I also think his recent form on the PGA Tour is continuing this week after his disposal of Tiger Woods. Fdez-Castaño and Molinari are locked in a tight match as play was suspended for darkness, all square through 16. I see Howell parlaying his victory over Tiger to a potential quarterfinal run, 3&1.
4) Webb Simpson vs. 5) Peter Hanson: I have Hanson in the finals, so I am going to stick with him and here’s why. Simpson’s first round opponent, David Lynn carded 5 bogeys in 11 holes. Meanwhile, Hanson birdied five of his final six holes to comeback on Thomas Bjørn. Hanson has momentum and carries it to a 4&2 win.
15) Rafael Cabrera-Bello vs. 7) Martin Kaymer: Kaymer was quite steady in his first round match, similar to the demeanor that propelled him to number one in the world in 2011. Cabrera-Bello fought to come back against Lee Westwood, winning in 19 holes. I think Kaymer runs away here 5&4.
14) Richard Sterne vs. 6) Hunter Mahan: Mahan was able to easily dispatch of Matteo Manassero, admitting in a post round interview that the Italian did not have his best stuff. Sterne held off a charge from Jason Dufner and will do the same in round 2. Sterne is the hot South African everyone should have picked, not Charl Schwartzel. Sterne 2 up.
Ben Hogan Bracket:
1) Louis Oosthuizen vs. 9) Robert Garrigus: Garrigus got off to a hot start in round one, while Oosthuizen had to charge back. I think the same thing happens in round 2 and Oosthuizen wins 1 up.
13) Marcus Fraser vs. 12) Fredrik Jacobson: Both players knocked off major champions in round 1; Fraser with a birdie at 17 and Jacobson with a par (after a pretty bad birdie attempt) on 18. It seems Jacobson is streaking now and I suspect he grinds out a win in 20 holes over Fraser in what will be one of the most exciting matches of round 2.
2) Justin Rose vs. 10) Nicolas Colsaerts: This match will come down to a putting contest. Rose is a great ball striker who will hit a ton of greens. Colsaerts will bomb it and have eagle opportunities. Rose is the man I chose to win, so I stick with him, 2&1.
3) Sergio Garcia vs. 6) Matt Kuchar: It’s no secret that Matt Kuchar smiles a lot and seems pretty easy going. It is also no secret that Sergio Garcia doesn’t always handle adversity on the course with the same attitude exuded by Kuchar. Garcia started Thursday with a 15 footer to close out Thongchai Jaidee and ended up going to 20 holes to advance. If Garcia gives Kuchar that many chances to win, Kuch will seize them, 3&1.
Sam Snead Bracket:
*Brag: I picked all but the Piercy/Lawrie match correctly from round 1. These picks will reflect the bracket picks for round 2*
1) Luke Donald vs. 9) Scott Piercy: I think this is a sneaky good match. Piercy is in great form and Donald is in his element. In the end Luke Donald’s ability to get up and down from anywhere propels him, 4&3.
4) Steve Stricker vs. 5) Nick Watney: I think Stricker’s rust catches up to him and Nick Watney length gives him more opportunities than Stricker, 2 up.
15) Tim Clark vs. 10) Thorbjørn Olesen: Olesen is my Snead bracket winner. He easily took his first match. Clark is a fighter in match play but Olesen is in strong form now and he moves on 4&2.
3) Ian Poulter vs. 6) Bo Van Pelt: Van Pelt was the first winner, dismissing John Senden 6&5. Poulter’s ball striking can get squirrelly at times and if his putter is not on, as it won’t be Friday, he’s in trouble. Van Pelt to round 3 3&2.
There they are…sure to go 100% wrong.