Paulie's Picks: WGC Match Play & Puerto Rico Open

Well, this week is full of action. We have the Dell Match Play Wednesday through Sunday and the Puerto Rico Open Thursday through Sunday. With so much on tap this week, let’s dive right in:

Dell Match Play

Each player is placed into one of 16 pods which contain four players. Each player will play three matches and only one person advances from each pod. With that being said, it will be very difficult to predict a winner in this format. The best way to try and pick a winner for your One-and-Done league is to find the weakest pod where a player may have the best chance of making the final 16.

There are a few different strategies to choose from this week. If you are near the top of the standings in your league, I suggest picking a player who you don’t intend on using any other week this year. If you are near the bottom of the standings, this may be your time to make a risky move and use a top stud.

Weakest Groups:

  • Spieth, Moore, Ikeda, Tanihara
  • Noren, Molinari, Wiesberger, Jaidee
  • Watson, Pieters, Piercy, Vegas

Strongest Groups:

  • Matsuyama, Oosthuizen, Furyk, Fisher
  • D Johnson, Walker, Kaymer, Simpson

 

If you are going to burn a stud:

Jordan Spieth

Spieth is very familiar with the golf course as he attended University of Texas. He arguably has the weakest group as his group contains Yuta Ikeda and Hideto Tanihara. I expect the winner of the Ryan Moore and Jordan Spieth match to advance from this group. The majority of your league is saving Spieth for the Masters so it might make sense to take him this week and hope that he finishes high and then doesn’t succeed at Augusta.

If you are looking to avoid burning a top player this week, I suggest the following players:

Francesco Molinari

Molinari will put a lot of pressure on his opponents in match play since he minimizes mistakes and hits a lot fairways and greens. With the rest of his group consisting of Noren, Jaidee and Weisberger, I think Molinari has a very good chance to make the round of 16.

Patrick Reed

Reed is another well known match play specialist. Anyone remember his duel with Rory at the Ryder Cup? Reed is also familiar with Texas golf as he was born in San Antonio and currently resides in Houston and plays out of Bluejack National. If Reed makes it through the round of 16, he will cherish the matches against the world’s best.

Longshot to Win:

Jhonattan Vegas 100-1

Vegas is very familiar with Austin CC as he also attended the University of Texas. This local knowledge may pay big dividends this week. He is in arguably the weakest group with three volatile players: Bubba Watson, Thomas Pieters and Scott Piercy. Bubba Watson has been struggling adjusting to his new Volvik golf ball this year and has not been performing well in events that he usually succeeds at. Thomas Pieters can be very volatile as he often either finishes near the top of the leaderboard or the very bottom. In match play, I would favor the steady Vegas. The last player of the group, Piercy, hasn’t finished in the top 30 this calendar year.


Puerto Rico Open

This opposite field event will be an opportunity for many young guns and veteran grinders to pick up a victory.

DraftKings/One-and-Done:

Peter Uihlein $10,100

Uihlein has played the majority of his golf on the European Tour. His game has caught fire of late with five top 20s in his last 8 starts. He is one of the top tee to green players on the European Tour. He does have some experience at this course finishing sixth in 2013. If his putter can get hot this week, I think he can win.

Graham DeLaet $10,600

DeLaet crosses all of the check boxes for this week. He has finished in the top 25 in all four starts at this event. On top of that, he has finished in the top 25 in four of the last five events this year. His ballstriking prowess may pay off this week and we can see a third Canadian winner this season.

Seamus Power $7,300

Power is familiar with the paspalum grass that is found at Coco Beach this week. He finished 15th at the Olympics in Rio which features the same grass. Power’s strong suit is on par fives as he ranks 16th on Tour on those holes. The par fives are pivotal at Coco Beach as many of the winners in past years have been at or near the top in par five scoring for the week.

Longshot Pick to Win:

Harold Varner III 70-1

Varner fits the mold of many players who have succeeded at this event. He hits the ball a country mile and has a very strong tee to green game (similar to last year’s champion Tony Finau). His 34th place finish at Bay Hill was his best finish since winning the Australian Open in December. With a weak field, I’ll gladly take a guy at 70-1 who has won in the last 6 months.

 

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