The second day of action at the WGC Dell Matchplay sees the middle set of group matches being played out at an Austin Country Club which might be a little softer than we saw it on Wednesday after some overnight weather came in.
Usually the Saturday or the third day of a golf tournament would be considered the moving day but here it is this middle day of group action as those who won their opening match can be sitting pretty with another win while those without a win yet urgently need one.
It wasn’t the low scoring day that you would have expected over the course of Wednesday which might account for why just five of the 16 top seeds in each group were able to win their matches. Among the bigger surprise defeats were Justin Thomas who went down to Matt Kuchar and Bryson DeChambeau who was beaten by Antoine Rozner. The heaviest defeats of the day were dished out by Ian Poulter and Daniel Berger who took care of Rory McIlroy and Erik van Rooyen 6&5 and 6&4 respectively. Webb Simpson saw off Talor Gooch and Dylan Frittelli beat Tony Finau by that 6&5 score too.
It was a slightly profitable day for us betting wise with one win and one loss from the matches we got involved in. The profit was locked in pretty early on when Carlos Ortiz took care of Hideki Matsuyama in a match he got up early in and never let it go deep enough for the longer holes to come into the equation. It looked like Corey Conners was going to do the same against Matthew Wolff but that wasn’t the case as he faded fast in the back nine.
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We have plenty more great matches to enjoy on Thursday with the pick of them probably being the one between Jordan Spieth and Matthew Wolff, although from a European standpoint Robert MacIntyre meeting world number one Justin Thomas is an attractive match as is the one between Tyrrell Hatton and Sergio Garcia. It is a big day for Rory McIlroy who will need to beat Lanto Griffin else he is out of the competition before he has really got into it. I’ll take a couple of bets over the course of the day.
Hideki Matsuyama vs Brian Harman
Match tees off at 14.41 GMT
The second match out onto the golf course sees two men who lost their opening match embark on a game they need to win when Hideki Matsuyama takes on Brian Harman with the winner keeping their hopes of qualifying alive and the loser going out of the competition.
Both men lost their opening matches on Wednesday but they did so in very different ways. Matsuyama was all over the place at times in his match and was over par for the 14 holes he played against Carlos Ortiz. Harman went down on the final green to Patrick Cantlay but he was six under par for his round and fired in eight birdies along the way but just ran into an absolute storm of a performance from Cantlay. I fancied Harman to go well coming into the week and I saw nothing to suggest that won’t be the case despite his defeat on Wednesday. I’ll back the American to pick up his first W here.
Paul Casey vs Talor Gooch
Match tees off at 17.37 GMT
Another match where two men who lost their opening match of the tournament meet midway through the second day of play when Paul Casey goes out against the debutant Talor Gooch in a clash neither can afford to lose if they want to keep their hopes alive.
Both these men ended up getting a bit of a hiding on Wednesday but Gooch was absolutely thrashed by Webb Simpson 6&5 in a match he was comfortably over par in and never in the hunt at all. Casey was beaten by Mackenzie Hughes on Wednesday but he was down early in that game despite playing the first six holes two under par and although his golf got a bit ragged in the back nine he was pushing hard to try and get on terms by then so we can excuse him that. You don’t usually see Casey hit such shots. I expect Casey to get back on track on Thursday and come through here.
WON – Back B.Harman to beat H.Matsuyama for a 3/10 stake at 2.20 with Betway
WON – Back P.Casey to beat T.Gooch for a 4/10 stake at 1.80 with Betfair
Back him here: