Round 1 predictions for the WGC-Accenture Match Play

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 19, 2013, 6:23 pm

MARANA, Ariz. – Round 1 of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship gets underway Wednesday at The Ritz Carlton Golf Club Dove Mountain.

GolfChannel.com offers up some first-round predictions. Click here to play Golf Channel's Bracket Challenge to make your picks. (Also check out the bracket and tee times.) All tee times are local (MT).


Match 1 - 7:25 a.m. - (3) Sergio Garcia def. (14) Thongchai Jaidee

Although El Nino has a history of one-and-done weeks at the Match Play - he’s been bounced in the opening set four times in 10 appearances - he has not finished outside the top 20 since last September.


Match 2 - 7:35 a.m. - (6) Matt Kuchar def. (11) Hiroyuki Fujita

In three Match Play starts Kuchar has never lost in Round 1, although he did struggle after a stellar start last week in Los Angeles. That Fujita is making his first start of 2013 also makes a Round 1 upset unlikely.


Match 3 - 7:45 a.m. - (14) Stephen Gallacher def. (3) Ian Poulter

OK, so the wild-eyed Englishman has won this event before (2010) and is still riding high following last year’s Ryder Cup, but Gallacher is fresh off a victory in Dubai and is ripe for pulling an upset.


Match 4 - 7:55 a.m. - (11) John Senden def. (6) Bo Van Pelt

On paper this is an upset, but the truth is this is an extremely close match up but the Aussie, who advanced to the Sweet 16 last year at Dove Mountain, comes out ahead.


Match 5 - 8:05 a.m. - (3) Charl Schwartzel def. (14) Russell Henley

Tough opening-day pull for the Sony Open champion, who will face an on-form Schwartzel (T-3 at Northern Trust Open) who has never lost in Round 1 at the Match Play.


Match 6 - 8:15 a.m. - (11) Jason Day def. (6) Zach Johnson

This is a “courses for horses” deal. Since the Match Play moved to Dove Mountain in 2007 Johnson has never advanced past the second round on a bomber’s course that is made to order for Day.


Match 7 - 8:25 a.m. - (14) Richard Sterne def. (3) Jason Dufner

After Brandt Snedeker, who is missing this week’s WGC with an ailing rib, the South African is the game’s hottest player, having finished first, second and T-7 in his last three starts.


Match 8 - 8:35 a.m. - (6) Hunter Mahan def. (11) Matteo Manassero

The defending champion has slowly dug himself out of the slump that beset him last year. Don’t be surprised to see him hanging around deep into the weekend.


Match 9 - 8:45 a.m. - (2) Justin Rose def. (15) K.J. Choi

Englishman already has one WGC on his shelf (WGC-Cadillac Championship) and is probably coach Sean Foley’s best chance to claim a second consecutive Match Play title.


Match 10 - 8:55 a.m. - (7) Bill Haas def. (10) Nicolas Colsaerts

The Muscles from Brussels has been sluggish in his American debut this season and Haas hasn’t finished outside the top 10 in his last three starts.


Match 11 - 9:05 a.m. - (15) Tim Clark def. (2) Adam Scott

In a battle of long putters, the South African is poised to mar more than a few brackets. Don’t be surprised, this is the same player who has “upset” Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen, Martin Kaymer and Tiger Woods in his last two Match Play starts.


Match 12 - 9:15 a.m. - (10) Thorbjorn Olsesen def. (7) Jamie Donaldson

It is pronounced TOR-be-yorn OO-les-en and American fans should get used to saying it. The Dane is on a steady rise having finished T-2 in Abu Dhabi and T-3 in Dubai last month.


Match 13 - 9:25 a.m. - (2) Bubba Watson def. (15) Chris Wood

Bubba wins the battle of the bombers on Day 1, but this one will be close and may go extra holes. May we suggest they play the drivable par-4 16th hole until a champion in crowned for our viewing pleasure.


Match 14 - 9:35 a.m. - (7) Jim Furyk def. (10) Ryan Moore

Tough match to call, but the nod goes to Furyk based on his experience at this event. The veteran has made a cool dozen starts at the Match Play in his career.


Match 15 - 9:45 a.m. - (2) Lee Westwood def. (15) Rafael Cabrera-Bello

The Englishman has been steady, if not spectacular, to start the season and he did advance to the semifinals here last year. The Spaniard, on the other hand, went down in Round 1 in 2012 to Jason Day.


Match 16 - 9:55 a.m. - (10) George Coetzee def. (7) Martin Kaymer

Two years ago the German took over the top spot in the World Ranking at Dove Mountain but he still seems to be searching for answers. Coetzee, however, is fresh off three consecutive top-10 finishes.


Match 17 - 10:05 a.m. - (4) Keegan Bradley def. (13) Marcus Fraser

Still no top-10s this season for Bradley, but when it comes to holing clutch putts, fewer on Tour are better.


Match 18 - 10:15 a.m. - (12) Fredrik Jacobson def. (5) Ernie Els

Potential upset here, even if the Junkman’s history in this event leaves much to be desired (two one-and-dones and a quarterfinal loss in 2004). Els’ T-13 finish at Riviera was only the second time he’s cracked the top 15 since he won the Open, while Jacobson has posted back-to-back top-7 results.


Match 19 - 10:25 a.m. - (4) Steve Stricker def. (13) Henrik Stenson

Even with the extended layoff, Stricker should be able to get past his first-round opponent – though, it should be noted, that wasn’t the case in 2011 and ’10.


Match 20 - 10:35 a.m. - (5) Nick Watney def. (12) David Toms

Watney has reached the quarterfinals each of the past three years, while Toms hasn’t cracked the top 50 in two starts this season.


Match 21 - 10:45 a.m. - (4) Dustin Johnson def. (13) Alexander Noren

DJ’s record in this event isn’t spectacular (three first-round losses), and he’s coming off two consecutive missed cuts, but he still should be able to handle Noren, who is making only his second Match Play appearance.


Match 22 - 10:55 a.m. - (5) Graeme McDowell def. (12) Padraig Harrington

Toss-up here, but we’ll give the edge to McDowell, who always seems to hunker down in the tight matches. Paddy is coming off consecutive missed cuts, too.


Match 23 - 11:05 a.m. - (4) Webb Simpson def. (13) David Lynn

Simpson lost in the first round in his only other appearance here, but a T-6 at Riviera shows he’s in good form heading back to the desert.


Match 24 - 11:15 a.m. - (5) Peter Hanson def. (12) Thomas Bjorn

Hanson is making his season debut on Tour, but his top-22 finishes in the Middle East bode well for this week.


Match 25 - 11:25 a.m. - (1) Louis Oosthuizen def. (16) Richie Ramsay

A surprisingly weak record for such a sweet swinger, but Oosty should face little resistance in Ramsay, who is seeing Dove Mountain for the first time.


Match 26 - 11:35 a.m. - (8) Branden Grace def. (9) Robert Garrigus

This has the potential to go extra holes. Neither player has teed it up here before. Grace had top-6 finishes in the Middle East, while Garrigus hasn’t finished worse than 22nd this season. A true toss-up.


Match 27 - 11:45 a.m. - (1) Luke Donald def. (16) Marcel Siem

Donald is one of the best match-play performers in the world for a reason. He dominates in this one.


Match 28 - 11:55 a.m. - (8) Paul Lawrie def. (9) Scott Piercy

The Scot reached the Sweet 16 last year in his first appearance at this event since 2003, and has more match-play experience in general, but if Piercy gets the putter going, this one could turn around in a hurry.


Match 29 - 12:05 p.m. - (1) Rory McIlroy def. (16) Shane Lowry

This could be much closer than anticipated, especially if the weather is as nasty as forecasted. Rory should extend his visit past Wednesday, though, for he’s never lost in the first round here.


Match 30 - 12:15 p.m. - (8) Rickie Fowler def. (9) Carl Pettersson

Give the advantage here to Rickie, who has top-6s in two of his three starts this season. Pettersson withdrew last week with the flu.


Match 31 - 12:25 p.m. - (1) Tiger Woods def. (16) Charles Howell III

We hope it’s close, if only for the entertainment, but there is no better bad-weather player in the world than Tiger, and he’s clearly in good form.


Match 32 - 12:35 p.m. - (8) Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano def. (9) Francesco Molinari

Castano has played well in three European Tour starts, finishing no worse than 20th, while Molinari has only played once (a MC in Abu Dhabi).

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Golf Channel Ramps Up Six Weeks of Comprehensive College Golf Coverage Culminating With The NCAA Women's and Men's Golf Championships, May 18-30

By Golf Channel Public RelationsApril 24, 2018, 9:00 pm

Golf Channel to Announce NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships Regional Selections on Wednesday, April 25 and Wednesday, May 2

 Golf Channel to Expand Coverage of NCAA Women’s and Men’s Regional Championships  

Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys, a Four-Part Docu-Series Executive Produced by Rickie Fowler, Premieres on Golf Channel Monday, May 7

 More than 100 News and Tournament Hours Planned for Women’s and Men’s Championships, Back-to-Back Weeks at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

 

ORLANDO, Fla., April 24, 2018 – With conference championships underway, golf fans will be able to follow their favorite college golf programs and alma maters as they attempt to qualify and compete in the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships in May at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., as Golf Channel expands its comprehensive on-air and digital collegiate golf coverage the next six weeks.

“Through our new long-term partnership, the NCAA and Golf Channel are successfully raising the profile of college golf by shining a spotlight on the game’s future stars and the passion these programs have in competing for national championships,” said Molly Solomon, Golf Channel executive vice president of content and executive producer. “With our expanded coverage of the regional championships and partnering with OSU alum Rickie Fowler for Driven, our viewers will be treated to the most college golf coverage in network history leading into the NCAA Golf National Championships.”

REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS SELECTION ANNOUNCEMENTS: On Wednesday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m. ET (women) and continuing Wednesday, May 2 at 5:30 p.m. ET (men), Golf Channel will announce the teams and individuals selected by the NCAA to participate in the women’s and men’s regional championships, the first step on the road to the NCAA Golf Championships. Live streaming coverage of selection shows will be available through the Golf Channel Mobile App or GolfChannel.com, and Golf Channel will aggregate social content for the shows using the hashtag #NCAAGolf. 

  • Women’s Golf Championships Regional Selections, Wednesday, April 25, 5:30 p.m. ET: Golf Central will announce (live) the 72 teams and24 individuals selected to compete in the four NCAA Women’s Regional Championships, May 7-9 (18 teams and six individuals per regional). 24 teams and 12 individuals will advance from regional sites to the national championships.
  • Men’s Golf Championships Regional Selections, Wednesday, May 2, 5:30 p.m. ET: Golf Central will announce the 81 teams and 45 individuals selected to compete in the six NCAA Men’s Regional Championships, May 14-16 (13 teams and 10 individuals at three regionals and 14 teams and five individuals at three regionals). 30 teams and six individuals will advance from regional sites to the national championships.

GOLF CHANNEL TO EXPAND REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS COVERAGE: New for 2018, Golf Channel will feature expanded coverage of the final day of the NCAA women’s and men’s regional championships, Wednesday May 9 and Wednesday, May 16, respectively. Beginning within Morning Drive, Golf Channel’s daily lifestyle news show, and continuing hourly throughout the day via live Golf Central news updates from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. ET that will be published to Golf Channel Digital and Golf Channel’s social media handles. Coverage will conclude with live news segments, featuring highlights and interviews, announcing the teams and individuals who qualified for the women’s and men’s national championships.

RICKIE FOWLER AND NBC SPORTS COLLABORATE ON FOUR-PART DOCU-SERIES DRIVEN: OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS: NBC Sports Group is teaming up with PGA TOUR superstar Rickie Fowler to give viewers a dramatic behind-the-scenes look into Fowler’s alma mater in a four-part documentary series – Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys. Driven, executive produced by Fowler, will premiere Monday, May 7 at 10 p.m. ET and continue Monday, May 14 (10 p.m. ET) and Monday, May 21 (8 p.m. ET). The finale will air on NBC on Saturday, June 16, recapping their season that culminates with a run at a potential 11th national championship, taking place on their home turf.

NCAA GOLF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS COVERAGE: Contested in back-to-back weeks, May 18-30 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., Golf Channel will dedicate its full suite of production resources to the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships, featuring nearly 30 combined hours of live tournament coverage. In addition, Golf Central will feature nearly 30 hours of combined pre-and post-event live news coverage produced on location, as well as daily news updates on Morning Drive and Golf Channel Digital.                                             

Golf Channel NCAA Women’s Golf Championships Coverage

Monday, May   21       

Individual National   Championship  

4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

Tuesday, May   22          

Quarterfinals, Team   Match Play  

11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET   (Live)

Tuesday, May   22                 

Semifinals, Team Match   Play 

4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

Wednesday, May   23            

Team National   Championship  

4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

 

Golf Channel NCAA Men’s Golf Championships Coverage

Monday, May   28      

Individual National   Championship  

4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

Tuesday, May   29          

Quarterfinals, Team   Match Play  

11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET   (Live)

Tuesday, May   29                 

Semifinals, Team Match   Play 

4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

Wednesday, May   30            

Team National   Championship  

4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

 

COLLEGE CENTRAL – GOLF CHANNEL DIGITAL COVERAGE: Golf Channel is providing comprehensive coverage leading up to and during the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships as part of College Central,Golf Channel Digital’s home for college golf. Led by Jay Coffin, Ryan Lavner and Steve Burkowski, College Central will be the source for all things college golf, including tournament results and scores, features and columns, video highlights and breaking news.

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS NEWS COVERAGE: Golf Channel will cover the conference championships with scores and analysis across its on-air news platforms - Morning Drive and Golf Central – and online within College Central.

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With help from partner, Burns could secure Tour status

By Ryan LavnerApril 24, 2018, 8:33 pm

AVONDALE, La. – This week Sam Burns has yet another chance to secure special temporary membership for the rest of the PGA Tour season, but his partner may determine whether he’s ultimately successful.

In an interesting twist, Burns is burning one of his seven available sponsor exemptions this week at the Zurich Classic. He is 80 non-member points shy of securing special temporary membership, which would allow him to receive unlimited sponsor exemptions for the rest of the season.

Burns needs at least a two-way tie for fourth to earn the necessary points, but it won’t all depend on how he plays this week. The Zurich is a two-man game, with two rounds apiece of fourballs and alternate shot.

Burns' partner this week is William McGirt. Their games couldn’t be more different – Burns ranks eighth on Tour in driving distance, at 309 yards per pop, while McGirt is 143rd (290) – but they hope to compliment each other over four days at TPC Louisiana.


Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos


“I got a good pair of spurs sharpened up last week while I was in San Antonio,” joked McGirt, who is looking for his first top-10 since the fall. “I told him I was going to ride him hard this week. It’ll be fun.”

Burns will have at least two (and maybe three) more opportunities to earn status, with starts lined up next week at the Wells Fargo Championship and also at the Memorial. He doesn’t face quite as much pressure because he won earlier this month on the Web.com Tour and currently sits fourth on the money list, essentially locking up his PGA Tour card for next season.

“It’s obviously nice to have that win,” he said, “but at the same time you have to be careful and make sure you play enough out there to where you’re secure for sure. You don’t want to get at the end of the year and then have two or three events left and you have to make a certain amount of money to get your card.

“So I’m just going step by step, tournament by tournament, and trying to figure out what’s the best route.”   

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Spieth-Palmer draw Rahm-Bryan early at Zurich

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 24, 2018, 7:49 pm

AVONDALE, La. – The PGA Tour’s only team event gets underway Thursday at the Zurich Classic. Here are some featured groups to watch at TPC Louisiana.

Justin Thomas-Bud Cauley/Daniel Berger-Gary Woodland: 8:39 a.m. ET Thursday off 10 tee, 2:08 p.m. Friday off 1: 

The Bama boys, Thomas and Cauley, team up for the second consecutive year, after tying for fifth a year ago on the strength of a final-round 61. Berger teamed with Thomas Pieters a year ago but missed the cut, so he’ll try his luck with Woodland, who also shares a management team at Excel Sports.

Jordan Spieth-Ryan Palmer/Jon Rahm-Wesley Bryan: 8:52 a.m. Thursday off 10, 2:19 p.m. Friday off 1: 

Spieth and Palmer finished fourth a year ago, five shots back of the leaders. Spieth is making his first start since his epic Sunday run at the Masters. Rahm and Bryan have opposite strengths – Rahm is one of the game’s preeminent drivers, while Bryan, statistically, is one of the worst – but the Spaniard is coming off a European Tour victory at home. Another wrinkle here: Even though no world-ranking points are on offer this week, Rahm is set to supplant Spieth as the third-ranked player in the world.

Jason Day-Ryan Ruffels/Brooks Koepka-Marc Turnesa: 1:31 p.m. Thursday off 1, 9:42 a.m. Friday off 10: 

Two stars with questionable sidekicks. Ruffels is an up-and-coming Australian who has been playing primarily in Latin America. (He also shares a manager with Day.) Turnesa, meanwhile, got the call late last week from Koepka, who is finally ready to return from a 15-week layoff because of a wrist injury. They both play out of Medalist in South Florida, but Turnesa, 40, has turned his attention to real estate instead of professional golf.

Patrick Reed-Patrick Cantlay/Jonas Blixt-Cameron Smith: 1:44 p.m. Thursday off 1, 9:53 a.m. Friday off 10: 

Reed makes his first start as Masters champion after taking off the past two weeks. This duo tied for 14th last year, undone by a Saturday 75 in foursomes play. Blixt and Smith are the defending champions, after shooting 27 under par last year and holding off Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown in a playoff. Blixt doesn’t have a top-10 on Tour since then, while Smith tied for fifth at the Match Play and the Masters.

Justin Rose-Henrik Stenson/Bubba Watson-Matt Kuchar: 1:57 p.m. Thursday off 1, 10:04 a.m. Friday off 10:

Rose and Stenson, who have proved to be a formidable pairing in the Ryder Cup, were a stunning missed cut last year, after shooting 6 under par for two rounds. Watson teamed up with J.B. Holmes to finish fifth last year, while Kuchar is making his first start in this event since 2009.

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Zurich Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 24, 2018, 7:09 pm

The PGA Tour tries team competition for the second year in a row at the Zurich Classic. Here are the key stats and information for play at TPC LouisianaClick here for full-field tee times.

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2:30-6:30PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2:30-6:30PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.


Purse: $7,200,000 ($1,036,800 to each winner)

Course: TPC Louisiana (par 72; 7,425 yards)

Defending champions: Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt (-27) in a playoff over Scott Brown and Kevin Kisner


News and notes

• All four reigning major champions - Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed - are in the field this week. This is the first time all four reigning major winners have played this event since 1984 (Ben Crenshaw, Larry Nelson, Tom Watson, Hall Sutton).

 Both members of winning team this week will earn an official PGA Tour victory, two-year Tour exemptions, and exemptions into the Players and PGA Championships.

• That said, no Official World Golf Ranking points are awarded from this event and winners will not earn exemptions into the 2019 Masters.


Notable teams in the field 

Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson

 Rose won this event in 2014, when it was individual stroke play. From 2012-16, he was a combined 60 under at TPC Louisiana in stroke play, seven shots better than any other player.

 Rose has dramatically improved his performance on the greens from last season, moving from 123rd in strokes gained-putting to 10th.

 Stenson's last three starts look like this: solo 4th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, T-6 at the Houston Open, and T-5 at the Masters.

Jon Rahm and Wesley Bryan

 Rahm is coming off a victory at the Spanish Open, his second worldwide win in 2018 and fifth since Jan. 2017.

 Rahm outdrives Bryan by an average of 30 yards off the tee, 305.1 to 276.3.

 Rahm is second on Tour in the strokes gained-off the tee, while Bryan is 210th, last among qualifying players.

Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay

 Reed is just the fifth reigning Masters champ to play the Zurich since 2000, joining Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson (twice), and Bubba Watson.

 Reed has gone T-2, T-7, T-9, WIN in his last four starts.

 Cantlay broke through for his maiden PGA Tour win earlier this season at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.