The WGC Accenture Match Play gets underway a day earlier than most tournaments start so we’ve got a full day of golf on Wednesday of this week. Match play tournaments like this are always lots of fun and incredibly unpredictable. In each of the last three years, at least one #1 seed has lost IN THE FIRST ROUND. You never know who will win, but I’ll do my best to pick the winners.
I’ll give you my picks for each match everyday with a brief rundown of why I’m picking who I am. To join our bracket challenge group and find my overall picks for the bracket click here. Here’s my picks for Wednesday’s matches
Match 1, 7:25 AM: Thongchai Jaidee over Sergio Garcia
Let’s get started with the upsets right away shall we? Jaidee has three top tens in his four starts this calendar year and five in his last six tournaments on the European tour. He hasn’t been in the field since his run to the elite eight in 2010. Garcia is a regular but has had mixed results making it to the final four in 2010 but losing in the first round last year. Jaidee has the form to get the win so I’ll take him in the upset in match 1.
Match 2, 7:35: Matt Kuchar over Hiroyuki Fujita
Fujita lost his debut last year to Robert Karlsson while Kuchar has won each of his last three first round matchups and the last two years made deep runs. I think he’s got another solid run in him this year since he continues his consistent play. Kuchar is a solid pick to win any tournament any week since he always seems to be around the leaderboard at the end.
Match 3, 7:45: Ian Poulter over Stephen Gallacher
Poulter is a match-play beast who won this event in 2010. He’ll face Gallacher who is a 18-year pro out of Scotland. He won the Dubai Desert Classic earlier this month for his second career win in Europe. This will be his first Accenture.
Match 4, 7:55: Bo Van Pelt over John Senden
For a pair of players that have been on tour for a while, neither has much experience in the Match Play Championship. Senden picked up a couple wins last year before losing to Bae Sang-Moon while Bo Van Pelt lost in round one to Mark Wilson who went to the final four. BVP is coming off a t16 in Phoenix while Senden missed the cut at the Northern Trust Open.
Match 5, 8:05: Charl Schwartzel over Russell Henley
Schwartzel is red-hot and my pick to win it all, but Henley has been impressive in his rookie year on tour and is far from a push-over. Henley is the only player in the field of 64 who is playing his first WGC event.
Match 6, 8:15: Jason Day over Zach Johnson
Jason Day has won in the first round each of the last two years and has a pair of top tens in his three starts on tour this season. Zach Johnson made a run to the semifinals back in ’06 but he’s lost the last two years in the first round although this is the highest seed he’s had in a while.
Match 7, 8:25: Jason Dufner over Richard Sterne
Dufner is playing extremely well and will look for his first Accenture win after losing last year in the first round to Peter Hanson. Dufner showed some match-play skills at the Ryder Cup and I think he’ll get a couple rounds deep in this format this year. Sterne is making his second appearance and first since 2009.
Match 8, 8:35: Hunter Mahan over Matteo Manassero
Mahan won last year and is playing well coming into this year’s tournament. He doesn’t get an easy draw though as Matteo Manassero has earned his reputation as a giant-killer by taking out Steve Stricker, Charl Schwarzel, and Webb Simpson the last two years. This will be one of the better matchups of the day, but I think Hunter pulls it out in extra holes.
Match 9, 8:45: Justin Rose over K.J. Choi
Rose doesn’t have a great history in this event with a 5-7 lifetime record and losses in three of his last four first-round matches. Choi is 1-1 in the first round in the last two years. Rose has a pair of top 20’s in his two European Tour events this season.
Match 10, 8:55: Bill Haas over Nicolas Colsaerts
Haas is coming off a nice week at the Northern Trust where he couldn’t defend his title but did finish t3. Colsearts is a long-hitter from Belgium who has played two PGA events this season with a t44 in the Farmers and a missed cut in the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Match 11, 9:05: Tim Clark over Adam Scott
Scott finished third in 2003 and made it to the round of 16 the next year but he’s struggled recently winning just three matches in his last seven years. He won the WGC event at the Bridgestone Invitational in 2011, but has struggled since the event moved to Dove Mountain. Tim Clark has made it to the round of 16 in his last two trips to the Accenture although he missed last year’s tournament. Clark finished runner-up at the Sony Open earlier this season, but missed the cut last week at the Northern Trust where Scott finished t10. Scott’s the better overall golfer, but I think in this event Clark can pull the upset.
Match 12, 9:15: Jamie Donadlson over Thorbjorn Olsen
Both these players are making their debut in the Accenture. Donaldson won at Abu Dhabi and has a pair of top ten’s in his last four European Tour events. Olesen finished t2 at the Abu Dhabi and followed it up with a t3 on Dubai. Since Donaldson won at Abu Dhabi, I think he’ll win this one, but it could easily go either way.
Match 13, 9:25: Bubba Watson over Chris Wood
Watson reached the semis in 2011 and won in the first round last year too. Wood won in Qatar, and Watson struggled in the Northern Trust missing the cut. I still think Buba wins though since he’s had success here in the past.
Match 14, 9:35: Ryan Moore over Jim Furyk
Moore made it to the quarterfinals in 2011 in his last trip to Dove Mountain. Furyk has started his season well, but doesn’t have a great track record here losing in the first round in half of his 12 trips to the Accenture.
Match 15, 9:45: Lee Westwood over Rafael Cabrera-Bello
Westwood had struggled mightily before making the semifinals last year. He has won in the first round each year since 2007, but hadn’t gone beyond the second until last year. Cabrera-Bello took #2 seed Jason Day to extra holes last year in his only previous appearance here.
Match 16, 9:55: Martin Kaymer over George Coetzee
Kaymer has won four first-round matchups in a row and lost in 2011 to Luke Donald in the final. Last year, he beat Greg Chalmers and David Toms before losing to Matt Kuchar. Coetzee made his first appearance last year in a 2up loss to Rory in round one.
Keep Reading for matches 17-32