Fantasy Island: WGC-Accenture Match Play

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GolfChannel.com experts offer up their picks for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Each week a panel of experts will offer up their picks from three groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell; contributors John Hawkins and Charlie Rymer; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' hosts Gary Williams and Erik Kuselias; contributor Win McMurry; writer for NBCSports.com's ProGolf Talk, Ryan Ballengee; and RotoWorld.com's Rob Bolton.


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2005 WGC Accenture Match Play

*Ranking among the 16 GolfChannel.com experts (Ballengee and Bolton are debuting this week)

Rex Hoggard

Rex Hoggard
Score (Rank*):
2,869,477 (1)
Group A:
Paul Casey

Group B:
Geoff Ogilvy

Group C:
Henrik Stenson

The last time the Englishman failed to make it to the weekend at golf’s only one-and-done event was 2006 and he’s advanced to the finals the last two years. Funny that European skipper Colin Montgomerie still didn’t think he was worthy of a captain’s pick.
 
Australian is on-form, familiar with the sprawling Dove Mountain layout and a former two-time Match Play winner.

Toru Taniguchi’s injured neck may end up hurting world No. 1 Lee Westwood the most. The Swede, No. 65 in the world ranking when the field was set, replaced Taniguchi in the field and will face Westwood in the most likely first-round upset.

Randall Mell

Randall Mell
Score (Rank):
1,265,341 (12)
Group A:
Graeme McDowell

Group B:
Geoff Ogilvy

Group C:
Bill Haas
With an impressive record over his last eight starts, wouldn't want to draw him.

Former champ's due for another win, match play and desert golf suit him.

Strong start to the season pointing to something big again.

Charlie Rymer

Charlie Rymer
Score (Rank):
1,598,765 (8)
Group A:
Graeme McDowell

Group B:
Alvaro Quiros

Group C:
Thomas Bjorn

My impartial Twitter poll indicates a strong confidence in McDowell and I concur.

I really dig Quiros’ sideburns, and I really dig how far he hits the pelota, and I really dig his chances if he survives the second round which will either be against Stewart Cink or Ian Poulter.

Bjorn took down Tiger Woods when Tiger was on top of his game in 2001 in Dubai. If he can do it again in the first round that may give Bjorn the confidence boost he needs to go all the way.
John Hawkins

John Hawkins
Score (Rank):
928,309 (14)
 Group A:
Lee Westwood

Group B:
Bubba Watson

Group C:
Stewart Cink

Westwood's gotta start winning tournaments sooner or later

Watson's length should be a real advantage at this venue

Cink has an excellent history in this event and is a steal among the Cs
Jay Coffin

Jay Coffin
Score (Rank):
1,539,932 (9)
 Group A:
Paul Casey

Group B:
Rickie Fowler

Group C:
Stewart Cink
Couldn’t get past the first round the first four years, but the last four years he’s been as steady as anyone and been in the final twice. He’s a match-play stud.

It’s a bit of a stretch, but if he gets past his first two rounds he could be hard to beat. A potential match-up with Phil Mickelson in Round 2 is key.

I really like Cink for Group C value. He’s played here 11 times and he’s won more than two matches six times. Winning two matches here collects a lot of dough.

Gary Williams

Gary Williams
Score (Rank):
1,278,119 (11)
Group A:
Paul Casey

Group B:
Hunter Mahan

Group C:
Bill Haas

Runner-up the last two years, third round or better in the last four years, and won in Bahrain in 2011. Need I say more?

Has played on last four U.S. Cup teams and has top-6 finishes at Torrey Pines and Pebble Beach in 2011

Two wins in 2010, playing great in 2011, and could win in his first appearance like Geoff Ogilvy in 2006

Erik Kuselias

Erik Kuselias
Score (Rank):
2,835,534 (3)
Group A:
Rory McIlroy

Group B:
Nick Watney

Group C:
Bill Haas
He has seven top-12 finishes in his last seven worldwide starts and he made it to the quarterfinals in his first appearance in 2009

Reached the third round in his first appearance in 2010 and has three top-6 finishes in three starts in 2011

Has four top-12 finishes in his first five starts in 2011 and is making first appearance in an event where experience matters the least

Win McMurry

Win McMurry
Score (Rank):
2,837,053 (2)
Group A:
Ian Poulter

Group B:
Miguel Angel Jimenez

Group C:
Ryan Moore
The defending champion has no intention of giving back this title. Poults consistantly excels in the match play format. He's raring to go too after some time off.

This Ryder Cup stalwart knows match play and regularly impresses. While we don't see him much in the States, this is a very comfortable week for the Spainard with all the international flavor at Dove Mountain.

Although we haven't seen him compete in match play much as a professional, as an amateur he was tough to beat. Moore has some West Coast swing momentum coming into the WGC event as well.

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee
Score (Rank):
NA (NA)
Group A:
Paul Casey

Group B:
Geoff Ogilvy

Group C:
Bill Haas
The Englishman is playing well, has a win in Bahrain in 2011 and has consecutive runner-up finishes in this event. Seems like the perfect storm of conditions for him to go deep again this year.

Until proven otherwise, Geoff Ogilvy is the gold standard in this tournament. He's twice a winner and nearly invincible in the format.

Not sure what my life would be like if I didn't say to myself, 'Bill Haas is in contention again this week.' Taking a bit of a flier, though, since Haas has never played in this event.

Rob Bolton

Rob Bolton
Score (Rank):
NA (NA)
 Group A:
Paul Casey

Group B:
Justin Rose

Group C:
Martin Laird
Twice a bridesmaid at the Ritz-Carlton. Comes out of the bottom half of the Snead bracket, where three of the eight are returning from various maladies (Ernie Els, neck; Tim Clark, elbow; Camilo Villegas, back).

Epitome of consistency at a high level for months now, with seven consecutive top 25s, including a T9 at Riviera, where he was under par in every round.

Toyed with Bill Haas here, but he’s in the same bracket as Casey. Laird has all the tools, not to mention three top-25s in four starts this season. He’s in the Jones bracket, which is arguably the most difficult.


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