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 Jones Bracket. (Click for more predictions: Snead Bracket | Hogan Bracket | Player Bracket)
BOBBY JONES BRACKET
No. 1 Luke Donald vs. No. 16 Ernie Els
The lowdown: Donald, the defending champ, is 16-6 overall in this championship, with eight victories in his last nine matches. His putter will wear out Els, who continues to struggle with his flat stick.
No. 8 Jason Dufner vs. No. 9 Peter Hanson
The lowdown: Difficult to get gauge on Dufner, who is playing in this event for the first time and has never played in a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup. Hanson? He goes home early a lot in this event (1-5 overall record).
No. 4 K.J. Choi vs. No. 13 Kyle Stanley
The lowdown: Stanley may be making his Accenture debut, but he’s rolling this season, with a victory and a runner-up finish already. Choi has gone home three times in first-round losses.
No. 5 Brandt Snedeker vs. No. 12 Retief Goosen
The lowdown: Goosen has worked himself deep in this event three times, making it the semifinals once and to the quarterfinals two other times. A good showing helps his bid to get to the Masters.
No. 2 Adam Scott vs. No. 15 Robert Rock
The lowdown: Rock held off Tiger Woods to win at Abu Dhabi, but Scott’s putting better than Woods these days. Scott also likes this event. He’s 14-10 in it while Rock is making his debut.
No. 7 Bo Van Pelt vs. No. 10 Mark Wilson
The lowdown: Wilson already has a victory under his belt in the desert this season, winning the Humana Challenge. Confidence should be high.
No. 3 Dustin Johnson vs. No. 14 Jim Furyk
The lowdown: Short game matters more in match play, so the edge goes to Furyk, who showed some good form making an abbreviated Sunday charge at Riviera.
No. 6 Thomas Bjorn vs. No. 11 Francesco Molinari
The lowdown: Bjorn ruined Tiger Woods’ bid in this event last year, and Bjorn has been on a pretty good roll the last couple seasons, with three European Tour victories last year and two top-10s already this season.