MARANA, Ariz. – Thirty-two matches will comprise the opening day of the 2012 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. GolfChannel.com senior writers Randall Mell and Rex Hoggard are on site and offer up predictions on Day 1. Mell takes on the Hogan Bracket. (Click for more predictions: Snead Bracket | Jones Bracket | Player Bracket)
BEN HOGAN BRACKET
No. 1 Martin Kaymer vs. No. 16 Greg Chalmers
The lowdown: Kaymer showed off all his tools getting to the finals a year ago before, losing to Donald. He’ll find fuel in the good vibes here.
No. 8 David Toms vs. No. 9 Rickie Fowler
The lowdown: This is a terrific matchup, a veteran against an up-and-comer, but Toms is a match-play dynamo with a win in this event and a 23-9 overall record
No. 4 Matt Kuchar vs. No. 13 Jonathan Byrd
The lowdown: Another strong matchup. Kuchar made it all the way to the semifinals last year, but Byrd is showing the better form so far this season and made a nice run at Riviera last week.
No. 5 Bubba Watson vs. No. 12 Ben Crane
The lowdown: Should be a tight, tough match between two of the “Golf Boys,” but Crane looks like he is poised to send Bubba home singing the blues. While both are off to good starts this year, Crane is near top form.
No. 2 Steve Stricker vs. No. 15 Kevin Na
The lowdown: Stricker’s velvet putting stroke and great wedge game make the former Accenture Match Play Championship winner (2001) formidable in this format, even though he is not completely comfortable on the course.
No. 7 Louis Oosthuizen vs. No. 10 Aaron Baddeley
The lowdown: Oosthuizen goes home in first-round loss for a third consecutive time. Baddeley’s putter will be too much for him.
No. 3 Graeme McDowell vs. No. 14 Y.E. Yang
The lowdown: Yang made a nice run into the quarterfinals last year, but he’s off to an erratic start, two MCs in three events. McDowell got some confidence going in a T-3 at Abu Dhabi.
No. 6 Hunter Mahan vs. No. 11 Zach Johnson
The lowdown: Should be real battle, taking Mahan because the course seems to suit him better than Johnson. Mahan made a run into the third round a year ago.