As Hunter Mahan prepares to defend his WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship title, he faces stiff competition in round one as he faces world number 44, Italy’s Matteo Manassero. Mahan will find it tough not only to retain his title but to make it out of his bracket (Player) being seeded a lowly sixth.
Fans at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Marana, Arizona, USA are hoping for five days of outstanding match play golf. The WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship knockout format is a favourite among the fans. The tournaments offers that little extra and recognises some of golf’s great’s for their glittering careers, with one of the four brackets named after them. Jones, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Sam Snead have all been recognised for their achievements.
Round 1 has plenty of exciting clashes with tie of the round is the Emerald Isle clash between Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington, although both men have a poor first round win percentage. Favourite, Tiger Woods begins his campaign against fellow American Charles Howell III, with Woods hoping that a repeat of his first round exit in 2011 at the hands of Thomas Bjorn is not on the cards.
This year’s most successful match play competitor is England’s 2010 Champion Ian Poulter, with a record of 18-9, is looking to build on his Ryder Cup success with an opening round victory over rookie Stephen Gallagher of Scotland. Two further rookies will do battle in the all-rookie clash between Jamie Donaldson of Wales and Thorbjorn Olsen of Denmark, will both aiming to control ‘Debutant’s Nerves’.
Current betting has Woods as 11/1 favourite, with Rory McIlroy at 14/1 and 2011 Champion Luke Donald third favourite at 16/1. Outside bets with good value are Graeme McDowell at 70/1 and Matt Kuchar, and 3 Men in A Bunker favourite Bubba Watson are at 33/1.
Stuarts prediction for bracket winners:
For more information visit the Accenture WGC website: www.worldgolfchampionships.com