Golf betting tips: WGC-Match Play day three
2pts Hughes to beat Montgomery at 6/4 (BoyleSports)
1pt double Im and Fitzpatrick at 7/4 (General)
1pt treble English, Young and Rahm at 4.72/1 (888sport)
- Second bet originally a treble but will now become a double – Homa wins by walkover after Matsuyama WD
- Winner of Cantlay v Harman goes through
Firstly, forgive the rogue ordering, based on an early look at tee-times which now appears to have been amended. Still, it means we accidentally begin with the best match of the day based on performance levels so far, as the third-best player (Cantlay) takes on the fourth-best (Harman) in a straight shootout for a last-16 place.
For Cantlay, who has been superb across both rounds, there might be some added pressure as he seeks to avoid finishing second in his group for the fifth time in five attempts. One of them came when unfortunate to lose out to Harman, whom he’d beaten in the opening match only to then face in a Friday play-off. To lose again here would be enormously frustrating.
He should be fancied to win based on the consistency he’s shown, particularly with his long-game. That’s been true for a month now whereas Harman has struggled. The latter might win this with his putter and a good start for Cantlay is important, but we have to be hopeful that he safely advances at long last.
- Winner of Morikawa v Day goes through
- Day progresses with a halved match
Another winner-takes-all match and on paper Day has the advantage based on performance levels so far, with a 2.7 strokes-gained advantage over Morikawa. That’s really the only way to justify Day being a marginal favourite and I was quite tempted to side with Morikawa as underdog, especially as Day was not at his best on Thursday.
- Winner of Kim v Kuchar goes through
- Kim progresses with a halved match
Second plays 33rd in terms of performance levels over the first two days, but again I’d lean towards the slight underdog here. Kuchar has a fabulous record at the course and it’s not hard to envisage Kim’s putter cooling, although perhaps he’s boosted by his fabulous display at the Presidents Cup. Still, Kuchar must win and he might just manage it.
- Winner of McIlroy v Bradley goes through
- McIlroy progresses with a halved match
McIlroy is in the same situation as Kim in that a draw will do, after he finished his second match with fireworks to complete a fine turnaround. Bradley played really well and is a feisty competitor so while his record here is poor, he is a definite threat if he can edge in front early on.
- Montgomery goes through if avoiding defeat
- If Hughes beats Montgomery, the two will be in sudden-death play-off
- Spieth must win to also be in that play-off
Montgomery is an even-money chance to win and around 8/13 to avoid defeat and advance, knocking out Spieth in the process. I wouldn’t be in a rush to back him, especially after the way he finished at Sawgrass, and pressure could get to him. Besides, Hughes, who won well yesterday, is a tough nut to crack.
Hughes is my idea of the best value among the earliest matches at 11/8 and 6/4. He’s marginally outplayed Montgomery so far, notably so on Friday, and has experience in his favour together with a proven record in the mix.
- Homa goes through if avoiding defeat
- If Matsuyama beats Homa, the two will be in sudden-death play-off
- Suh must win to also be in that play-off
Homa should get the job done here based not only on a much-improved Friday display, but on Matsuyama’s woeful performance. He was the second-worst player in the field in the second round of matches and, while volatility is part and parcel of the experience, there remain nagging doubts over his fitness and the course.
- Burns goes through if avoiding defeat
- If Power beats Burns, the two will be in sudden-death play-off
- Scott must win to also be in that play-off
Plenty to play for in this group and no bet. Hadwin could cause some problems for Scott though so the winner of Power and Burns is the likely table-topper.
- Poston goes through if avoiding defeat or if Im does not win
- Should Poston lose and Im win, they will play-off
Im must win here and can do so. He’s improved upon a previously mediocre record at the course, without necessarily being at his best. The key angle though is that Fleetwood, who is out, has not only been poor in both rounds, but could be mentally spent. He contended in each of the previous two tournaments and that could take its toll now.
- Scheffler goes through if avoiding defeat
- If Kim beats Scheffler, the two will be in sudden-death play-off
- Riley must win to also be in that play-off
Scheffler v Kim could be a cracker, but the latter will need to play better to give Scheffler a game. Scheffler, who has only lost once here and beat Rahm on his Ryder Cup debut, looks every inch the man to beat after the performance of the day on Thursday.
I couldn’t rule out Kim stepping up given what we saw from him at the Presidents Cup and this is a match to watch and savour.
- Spaun goes through if avoiding defeat
- If Lee beats Spaun, the two will be in sudden-death play-off
- Fitzpatrick must win to also be in that play-off
Fitzpatrick was much better yesterday, closing out his win over Lee in style, and I’ve a sneaky feeling he may yet get into a three-way play-off. To do that he’ll need to beat Theegala, who was beaten comprehensively on Thursday and is out. He could be dangerous with nothing on the line bar points and money, given his free-flowing game, but he just doesn’t look a good fit for Austin.
If Fitzpatrick wins he needs a favour from Lee, who faces a bang in-form Spaun, the fifth-best player so far in SG terms. That won’t be easy but Fitzpatrick has a fighting chance. At the very least I expect him to take care of his side of the bargain.
- Schauffele goes through if avoiding defeat or if Wise v Davis is halved
- If Schauffele loses, he will enter play-off with winner of that match
Schauffele has been rock-solid so far but it’s not quite job done, and it should be noted that Hoge has been one of the best performers among those who have been knocked out already. Such players, i.e. those to have lost their first two matches, are 22-23-8 under this format, avoiding defeat in 30 of 53 matches. Hoge might do the same, but a tie for Schauffele will do.
- Herbert goes through if avoiding defeat
- If Griffin beats Herbert, the two will be in sudden-death play-off
- Henley must win to also be in that play-off
I’m still not convinced by Herbert, who has appeared a little fortunate to my eye and could still give a few holes away on the cheap. That adds some intrigue here given that Henley will fancy his chances against an already-eliminated Hatton, but Griffin isn’t necessarily the player you’d want batting for you. Chances are Herbert progresses, potentially to a clash with McIlroy.
- Finau goes through if avoiding defeat
- If Kitayama beats Finau, the two will be in sudden-death play-off
- Meronk must win to also be in that play-off
Another group with three possible winners and Finau’s stress-free week so far could count for very little. That said he improved from round one to two, although so did today’s opponent. One way or another, Meronk should be an interested observer as I expect him to see off Bezuidenhout.
- Putnam goes through if avoiding defeat
- If English beats Putnam, the two will be in sudden-death play-off
- Fox must win to also be in that play-off
Putnam holds the aces but English can beat him to blow this group wide open. He improved by five shots from day one to day two whereas Putnam went the other way. Also of note is that English secured his Masters invite with his Thursday win; Putnam needs more, so the pressure is all on him.
Fox will be eager to add to a miserable week for Zalatoris and keep hopes alive. If he does, a three-way play-off awaits.
- Young goes through if avoiding defeat or if Conners v Thompson is halved
- If Young loses, he will enter play-off with winner of that match
Young has been the star so far, his new relationship with caddie Paul Tesori going superbly, and the way he picked the pocket of Conners was really impressive for all that he got away with a wild drive on 18.
Most importantly, he’s drawn to face the worst player in the field so far. The form book says this is a no-content and while match play isn’t usually that simple, chances are it is on this occasion. Straka doesn’t convince me at all in the format, Young does, and he should have no excuses.
- Horschel goes through if winning and eliminates Rahm if avoiding defeat
- Should they halve their match and Fowler wins, Fowler and Horschel play-off
Rahm was a 40/1 chance going into round two but everything went ideally, with Fowler losing as he beat Mitchell convincingly. He’s still not putted very well but any warming of that club and he’ll complete the comeback against Horschel, for all that we have to respect the latter’s record at this course. Rahm, Scheffler and McIlroy, golf’s big three, can all seal places in the Saturday knockout.
Posted at 0905 GMT on 24/03/23
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