WGC Dell Technologies Match Play Preview5 min read
The second World Golf Championship of the year takes place this week with the top 64 players in the rankings, minus Rickie Fowler and Adam Scott, switching formats to tackle match play in Texas.
Austin Country Club again hosts the tournament with classic layout offering some risk and reward holes well suited to the format. The players will face three matches in the group stage and the winners will progress to the knockout stage where four victories will be required to claim the trophy.
The recent champions have all been world class players and strong current form looks essential. Bubba Watson won the title last year and the previous two winners, held at this course, were Dustin Johnson and Jason Day. All three of them had won another tournament no more than six weeks prior to the match play event so this looks an angle well worth pursuing.
Rory McIlroy ticks that box after his superb victory at the Players Championship and he could be the man to beat again this week. McIlroy has been in sensational form this year finishing no worse than sixth in his six starts. The Northern Irish star delivered an overdue victory at Sawgrass on his last start which sets him up ideally for both this week and the Masters next month.
McIlroy has already won this tournament, albeit at a different course, after victory at Harding Park in 2015. The four-time major champion also reached the semi-finals in Austin in 2016 so he has strong match play credentials. McIlroy has never competed in this tournament with as much confidence and form as this year and looks the most likely winner at 10/1.
Johnson is another player with superb current form which suggests another victory could be on the way. The world number one claimed his first win of the year after landing the Saudi International in February and also clinched the WGC Mexico Championship after a dominant five-shot victory. It was his sixth World Golf Championship title. Johnson has also finished inside the top six of his last two events; at Sawgrass and the Valspar Championship last weekend.
The 20-time PGA Tour winner has strong match play credentials after storming to victory at this tournament two years ago. He also reached the quarter-finals in 2016 and it would be a surprise if he failed to reach the knockout stages again. Johnson completed the WGC Mexico and Match Play double in 2017 and this could be on the cards again this weekend at 10/1.
Justin Harding is one of the form players on the European Tour and it could be worth backing the South African to take this momentum into the Match Play this week. Harding landed his breakthrough European Tour title earlier this month at the Qatar Masters and finished runner-up in his next start at the Kenya Open.
Harding has become a prolific winner over the last year with five victories since last May. It has seen him surge up the world rankings although he still needs a strong week at the Match Play to qualify for the Masters. With this motivation and so much recent success to fall back on, Harding looks the pick of the bigger prices at 150/1 each way.
Rory McIlroy Each Way
Dustin Johnson Each Way
Justin Harding Each Way