The second round of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational takes place at Firestone Country Club on Friday and after a low scoring opening day we are already set for a fascinating tournament. Usually players are thinking about the halfway cut at this stage of the tournament but with no cut this week they can all go full steam ahead and look to attack.
Those who made good starts on Thursday will look to consolidate their positions at the top of the leaderboard while those who didn’t will look to go low on Friday to get themselves back into the thick of things.
Round 1 Recap
Scoring was so low on Thursday that it is eight under par that leads the way with Ian Poulter on that mark. Two men posted seven under and sit a shot back. They include our pre-tournament pick Kyle Stanley and Rickie Fowler. There is another trio on six under which includes the talented Patrick Cantlay and the powerful Jon Rahm. Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Justin Thomas and Marc Leishman form part of a very strong group three off the lead on five under par so the big names are already gathering.
It wasn’t the greatest day for our two ball bets on Thursday with Charl Schwartzel going down by a shot despite Sergio Garcia only shooting level par while Kevin Kisner might have been at the races but it was the wrong course if he was. Thankfully our outrights are in good shape to make up for it.
There is a market for the leader at the end of the second round but it isn’t really one I want to get stuck into because the top of the leaderboard is stacked with quality and it would be a surprise if a good few of them don’t make forward advances and we saw on Thursday that there is a really low score out there. I also wouldn’t want to look too far down the list because you would expect someone who is six under or better will have another good day which reduces those below having a chance of leading. I’ll head back to the two balls.
Friday 2 Balls
The field are out in the same pairings as they were in on Thursday which means that those who were out in the afternoon wave on Thursday will be out in the morning on Friday and those who played their first rounds in the morning will go out in the afternoon. It means that Tiger Woods and Jason Day will be the centre of attention in the afternoon groups while the morning will be dominated by Dustin Johnson and Francesco Molinari. I like two groups in the afternoon.
Cameron Smith vs Kyle Stanley
Match tees off at 18.30 BST
One of the earlier groups out in the second session of play contains Kyle Stanley, who led for much of the first round before Ian Poulter overtook him. He is out with Cameron Smith who never had the best day on Thursday.
I’m not surprised Stanley played well on Friday. I really think this course suits his game and I expect him to go well on Friday as well. I’m a little unsure of Smith. He doesn’t look to be in the greatest form at the minute anyway and Firestone finds you out when you are not finding the centre of the club. I expect Stanley to kick on and see off his playing partner for a second day in a row.
Jordan Spieth vs Matthew Fitzpatrick
Match tees off at 18.50 BST
Generally opposing Jordan Spieth will have you in the poor house over the long term but I do think he is there to be taken on when he goes out alongside Matthew Fitzpatrick in the second round on Friday.
Putting it quite simply, Spieth is not long enough off the tee and he is not straight enough either to be lights out on this course and having shot over par on Thursday he’s going to have to go nuts to get himself back into the tournament. Fitzy is nicely placed at four under and I’m not surprised at that. He’s a tee to green machine and these greens should suit him nicely. I definitely see value on the Englishman here.
WON – Back K.Stanley to beat C.Smith for a 4/10 stake at 1.85 with 888sport
WON – Back M.Fitzpatrick to beat J.Spieth for a 4/10 stake at 2.60 with 888sport