Published: Thu, March 23, 2017
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

World's best converge on Austin for match play

World's best converge on Austin for match play

The Match Play begins Wednesday with three rounds of group play, preceded by endless speculation about who has the best chance to advance out of the 16 groups of four players, when no one ever knows what to expect, including the players.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, who's second in the world ranking, won the 2015 edition of this tournament when it was played in San Francisco.

This season the tours are at the Austin Country Club in Texas.

Even though Patrick Reed beat him, 1 up, in singles at the Ryder Cup past year, McIlroy is considered one of the best match players in the world. "And it's been really hard to play golf lately in this year". Hideki Matsuyama (+2000) does come in as the FedExCup points leader, but he's been well back in the field in his last three events.

Dustin Johnson has a trio of major champions in his way at the Dell Technologies Match Play.

For each match in round-robin play, a win earns 1 point, a loss nets 0 points and a tie earns 0.5 points for each player in the match.

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Day is the defending champion after almost withdrawing following his opening round because of a back injury.

"You're playing against one guy; you're not worrying about anyone else and can't mentally switch off in situations like match play".

In a high-quality contest, four of the first five holes changed hands due to birdies before Kjeldsen edged ahead at the turn thanks to McIlroy's bogey on the ninth. Last year, he lost in the semifinals 1 up to Day and then in the third-place match to Spain's Rafa Cabrera-Bello 3&2. He's not having a great season, though. He was No. 1 in the world for almost a year until Dustin Johnson overtook him a month ago. Over the last 10 years, the worst seed to win was No. 21 (Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan). This is the only WGC event he hasn't won and Johnson is just 7-9 all-time in it. McIlroy will play Woodland on Thursday, while Kjeldsen, fresh off his first win in this event, will take on Grillo.

This tournament really is a crap-shoot, so it's often better value to wager on a match or group victor. For example, No. 4 Hideki Matsuyama (+2100) is an especially risky group.

Hideto Tanihara never trailed in a 4-and-2 victory over Spieth.

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